Summary of Roswell Press Reports
Roswell press reports can be conveniently divided into "earlier" and "later" stories, depending on what made it into some of the newspapers on Tuesday, July 8, 1947 ("earlier" stories) vs. stories written after that.
Because of the lateness of the Roswell base press release on July 8 (about 5:30 pm EDT), none of the story made it into Eastern papers on July 8, whereas some brief announcements made it into Midwestern papers, while some of the evening West Coast papers managed to cover about the first hour and a half of the story. What happened afterwards didn't get reported until the next day.
For summaries of the various early stories and links to newspaper examples, click here For summaries of the later stories and links to newspaper examples, click here. (For 1947 news stories of military Roswell/flying disk debunkery campaign, click here.)
A composite of the earlier stories included the following reported items:
1. Wording of the base press release, including the object being found "sometime last week" and
Roswell sheriff George Wilcox reporting the find to the base. (AP & UP)
2. A statement that a "strange blue light" was also seen by residents near the ranch several days
before at about 3 a.m. (UP)
3. Base commander Col. William Blanchard being named as the source of the press release and
Blanchard specifically using the term "flying disc." (UP)
4. Later identification of Brazel, the rancher who found the object, and location of his ranch by
Sheriff Wilcox. Wilcox also placed the discovery time to "about 3 weeks before" and claimed
Brazel said the object was about as big as the sheriff's safe. (UP)
5. Ramey explicitly identifying the object as the remnants of a weather balloon and radar target and
saying it was nothing to get excited about. (UP)
6. A U. S. Senator also putting out the weather balloon/radar target explanation (INS)
7. General Ramey speaking with the Pentagon and giving a generic box kite/tinfoil description of the
object. (AP, UP, and others)
8. Statements by Ramey and AAF spokespeople that the object was 20-25 feet across, in clear
contradiction to what was eventually photographed. (AP, UP, others)
9. Ramey saying he was shipping the object to Wright Field, Ohio, for further investigation.
(AP, UP, others)
Announcement of the Wright Field shipment was the very last thing to make it into the July 8 newspapers and is the watershed between the earlier and later stories. The AP bulletin of this announcement was about an hour and half after its initial bulletin about the press release.
During the next hour and a half, General Ramey brought in a photographer and finally a weather officer to make an official identification of the weather balloon and radar target in his office. This definitive ID was announced about 3 hours after the story first broke (see AP chronology). Ramey then supposedly canceled the flight to Wright Field. Thereafter, Ramey went on a Fort Worth radio station and repeated the weather balloon identification.
Reporting of these three events (official ID, flight cancellation, and Ramey's radio broadcast) can be found only in stories published on July 9.
One of the clearest things to emerge from studying these stories is that Ramey's weather balloon/radar target story emerged very early on, probably within the first hour after the story broke, and well before Ramey brought in a weather officer to make an official identification. This is evident from the West Coast evening newspaper stories of July 8 (primarily the Los Angeles Herald-Express and San Francisco News), plus other stories published the next day (primarily in the San Francisco Examiner, New York Times, New York PM, Chicago Tribune, and Fort Worth Star-Telegram).
Probably over 90% of all accounts were derived directly from the Associated Press or United Press, the two biggest wire service agencies of the time, with the rest being made up of other news agencies or independent reporting (primarily by a few of the major newspapers). The various accounts often didn't agree in important details.
E.g., the initial Roswell base press release, as reported by both UP and AP, stated the rancher made his find "sometime last week." In addition, UP simultaneously reported that residents near the ranch saw "a strange blue light several days ago," again suggesting that events had happened recently. Within about 40 minutes, UP was quoting Sheriff Wilcox in Roswell that Brazel made his discovery "about 3 weeks ago." But one AP story from the next day quoted Wilcox as saying "two or three before" or "some days before" Brazel arrived in Roswell. (This wasn't the only contradiction in Wilcox's story.) Wilcox also admitted to "working with those fellows at the base," indicating that he wasn't providing an independent account of events.
In addition, a UP story from July 8 had Ramey saying the object was picked up "about three weeks ago." A later UP story out of Chicago had an unnamed AAF spokesman likewise saying "a couple of weeks ago." By the next day, the main UP story was inaccurately claiming that the original press release also said "3 weeks ago" instead of what it really said, namely "sometime last week."
Back in Roswell during the evening of July 8, rancher Brazel was giving a press interview to the AP and Roswell Daily Record. Brazel gave the remarkably specific date of June 14 for his find. AP gave this date in regional stories of the interview, but various AP stories never did settle on a discovery date. The most common stories used "three weeks previously" but others used the original "several days ago" or "last week," or Sheriff Wilcox's "two or three before" or "some days before."
To this day, the date of Brazel's discovery is hotly debated. All that can be said with certainty is that originally the base press release stated the discovery was within the last week, then it was later pushed back to three weeks before in the story put out by Ramey in Fort Worth and by a local sheriff who further admitted to working with the military.
Sometimes unique items were published. UP reported the "strange blue light" as part of the wording of the original press release. The AP account has nothing like this. The origin of this item and the meaning of the blue light near the ranch remains a mystery. One controversial witness claimed it was the glow of the spacecraft, which enabled the military to locate it quickly. But why would this be included in a version of the base press release?
Similarly, an AP story that emerged out of Fort Worth claimed that the "balloon" debris covered "a square mile" of the rancher's property. Brazel was to report that he found rubber pieces scattered over an area 200 yards in diameter, whereas Ramey was quoted in early UP and AP stories saying that a piece of balloon or "fragments of junk" were found nearby. These descriptions of debris field size are wildly incompatible with one another. If debris was truly scattered over a "square mile," as intelligence officer Marcel was apparently quoted as saying in Fort Worth, then this impossible to reconcile with the singular balloon and radar target that was shown and photographed, and also rather difficult to reconcile with the modern day Air Force "explanation" of a Mogul balloon train.
AP and UP stories generally also reported that Ramey and Pentagon spokesmen placed the size of
the object at 20-25 feet in diameter if reconstructed. ABC News radio also reported this size, as did the Washington Post. Again this size description is impossible to reconcile with the balloon and radar target that was eventually shown.
In contrast, in one AP story, Sheriff Wilcox said he was told by Brazel that the object was "about three feet across." But, it was reported, Wilcox then refused to elaborate on what it looked like, saying "I'm working with those fellows at the base."
Similarly in UP stories, Wilcox claimed Brazel said the object was about as big as the sheriff's safe, or about 3-1/2 by 4 feet, again quite a difference from 20-25 feet. Wilcox also claimed Brazel came in thinking he might have found a "weather meter."
But according to the Roswell Daily Record, Brazel said he "whispered" to the sheriff that he "might have found a flying disk", not a "weather meter." In fact, after describing a balloon, Brazel finished by disowning his own balloon story, declaring "I am sure that what I found was not any weather observation balloon."
These examples give a sense of how widely varied the reporting was of what happened. The military never did get its story completely straight. But it didn't matter, since few people at the time were paying attention to the details.
The reason for this seems to be that people were relieved to be told that it was nothing to worry about. Apparently there was a lot of public anxiety produced by the original base press release. Only a few stories mention this. E.g., the Chicago Tribune story stated that the weather officer's identification brought "relief to a worried public." And the Daily Illini story (which provided a chronology of AP wire stories) ended with the statement: "That was the word that many editors had been hoping for. A solution might be more than embarrassing. It might be calamitous. What if there really were 'men from Mars!'"
Early Press Reports
Earliest Story (multiple West Coast evening, July 8 newspapers -- stories are short and very uniform)
* Summarized Roswell base press release, then quotes AP version of it
* Said rancher's name and location withheld
* George Walsh of Roswell radio station KSWS provided first news of announcement
* Walsh claimed only the rancher, intelligence officer Major Marcel, and Roswell C/O Col. Blanchard
had seen object (how Walsh got this information was never clarified)
* Walsh said Roswell sheriff immediately contacted intelligence officer at base.
* Reported about first 1-1/2 hours of the story afterwards; missing positive weather officer identification and
Ramey going on radio, which occurred later; includes AP version of Roswell PIO Walter Haut's press release.
* Newspaper examples have same or identical material, but in different order. Miami Herald was most
complete overall AP story, probably a slightly later rewrite of earlier AP bulletins into one story.
* Added statements from Ramey (separate AP update in Herald-Express story, main part of Miami Herald
-- Ramey's generic debris descriptions (box-kite, tinfoil, etc.) to Pentagon by phone. Also claimed
Ramey did not indicate disk form or give a size.
-- Ramey saying he was shipping object to Wright Field
-- Ramey said no one saw it in the air
* Added there being "some fragments of junk" found near object (no source given)
* Added unnamed AAF sources saying the object was 20 to 25 feet across if reconstructed.
Also said object lacked capacity for speed and a power plant.
* Lacked reporter Walsh's statements or Walsh breaking story
* Herald-Express added two last-minute INS bulletins, one voicing Ramey's weather radar
"suspicions", the other citing a Colorado U.S. Senator giving weather balloon/radar target
explanation to the Denver Post. H-E headline included Ramey's belief it was radar target.
* Times/Herald coverage lacked INS bulletins
* Both Times and H-E stories included bulletins from the UP, including residents near ranch seeing
"a strange blue light" "several days ago about 3 a.m." or "in the early morning on which
the object crashed."
* H-E story added AAF saying FBI might be allowed to examine object if it hadn't left
Fort Worth yet
* Chronicles the 3 hours of AP press bulletins from the announcement of the base press release
to the announcement of official identification by the weather officer in Fort Worth.
All times given are probably Eastern Standard Time.
United Press stories
(evening, July 8 editions; 3 Western papers represented)
* Summary of the UP version of Roswell base press release, including object being flown to
"higher headquarters", rancher finding object "sometime last week", and neighbors seeing
"a strange blue light several days ago about 3 a.m." Unlike AP version, intel. officer Marcel
is not mentioned by name.
* One paper managed to include the rancher's name ["Brizell"] and location of ranch (Corona and
"Poster" ranch) -- (information obtained from Sheriff about 1/2 hour after release)
* States air base refused to give details of appearance or construction
Later UP story
(3 newspapers, one from evening of July 8)
* Reported about the first 1-1/2 hours of the story
* Summarized contents of Roswell base press release
* Again mentioned a "strange blue light" seen by neighbors near crash site "several days ago."
* Attributed press release to Roswell commander Col. Blanchard, saying he "specifically
described the object as a 'flying disk.'"
* Quoted Ramey:
-- Said object was "remnants of weather balloon and radar reflector" and "nothing
to get excited about."
-- Said he was forwarding object to Wright Field
-- Told AAF headquarters object of box kite construction and covered with tinfoil. AAF emphasized
no one had seen it in the air
-- Brazel found it "about three weeks ago"
-- Part of a weather balloon found nearby (repeat of singular weather balloon story)
* Quoted Sheriff Wilcox in Roswell (see also UP telexes)
-- Said Brazel found disk "about three weeks ago"
-- Brazel first reported finding object "the day before yesterday"
-- Brazel thought it might be a "weather meter"
-- Brazel said it was about as big as Sheriff's safe, 3-1/2 by 4 feet.
--The UP story in this west coast evening newspaper is important because it so clearly
establishes early origins of Ramey's weather balloon comments and identification. Carries a Washington D.C. dateline.
--Very similar story to S.F. News, though not identified as UP. Roswell dateline.
--Heavily rewritten UP account. Again quotes Ramey saying it was a weather balloon
and radar target. Also mentions Ramey saying a security lid was imposed by Washington and he hadn't let anybody see or photograph it yet. Again establishes that his weather balloon story preceded the photographs taken in his office or official identification of his weather officer.
* Covers a little more than the first hour of the story. Has UP version of press release including
"strange blue light", and Sheriff Wilcox's statements.
* Lacks Ramey's Pentagon debris descriptions, his explicit balloon/radar target identification, and
his announcement of shipping it to Wright Field.
* Has UP being aware of Marcel's flight to Fort Worth about 50 minutes after press release;
states they had already assigned somebody in UP Dallas office to cover story, perhaps
the source of Ramey's explicit weather balloon/radar target quotes reported soon afterwards by UP.
International News Service
* Ramey's and US Senator's early radar target/weather balloon explanations
* Very similar to early AP coverage including Ramey's Pentagon debris descriptions
* Like AP stories, object described as 20-25 feet in diameter
* Unique in adding that Wright Field was contacted and they were expecting shipment soon
* Lack of announcement of weather officer identification, which was at 8:30 pm EDT, suggests this
program was pre-recorded perhaps 2 hours earlier.
* Presented own paraphrased version of base press release
-- The intelligence office announced at noon that the field had come into possession of
a flying saucer. Either information released over authority of Maj. J. A. Marcel, intelligence officer, or recovery was over authority of Marcel.
-- Unidentified rancher notified Sheriff Wilcox after finding it.
-- Claimed it was stated that Marcel "and a detail from his department went to the ranch and
recovered the disk." (other versions don't mention "a detail")
-- After inspected by intelligence office, "the instrument" was flown to "higher headquarters".
-- Intel.office stated no details of the saucer's construction or appearance had been revealed.
* Rest of article was devoted to disk sighting previous Wednesday night by local residents, Mr.and Mrs.
Dan Wilmot, Wilmot called "one of the most respected and reliable citizens in town." Said base
release came out "only a few minutes" after he had decided to report his sighting.
* London-based story with some Reuters' news agency items
* Roswell story included:
-- Ramey's Pentagon statements also reported by AP and UP including flimsy, box-like object and
nobody having seen it in flight
-- Pentagon spokespeople added it appeared to be covered with tinfoil, had 20-25 foot diameter
if reconstructed, lacked a power plant and any capacity for speed or ability to carry a man.
-- Unique item was AAF headquarters saying that an unidentified officer (Ramey?) who had
seen object had the strong opinion it was a meteorological object. There was an indication it was attached to a balloon and matched descriptions of meteorological device used by military
* Roswell incident was lumped in with two others involving alleged disk material recovery
-- One involved the widely reported case of a man in Oelwein, Iowa, who claimed he found a strange
piece of metal with unusual properties in his front yard that dropped from the sky.
-- Another was the strange story from Harold Dahl in Tacoma of rocklike metal raining down on his
boat in Puget Sound from one of six 200-foot disks. (Story was to have many bizarre twists in the
the following month)
* Other items included disk reports from Canada, Australia, and South Africa and widely reported
debunking explanation of Australian professor of spots before the eyes.
United Press articles probably represented about 15-20% of newspapers stories on the Roswell incident from July 9. The earliest stories carried Washington and Fort Worth datelines and had reports on Ramey's phone calls with the Pentagon and appearing on the radio. One or more versions carried Chicago datelines and were probably written late on Tuesday, July 8 and appeared in a few morning newspapers on July 9. They added the official weather balloon identification. Another final UP article -- longer and more consistent in content -- appeared in the largest number of newspapers on July 9 and carried no dateline.
(Rare; composite of Nevada State Journal, Reno, July 9, morning, & Wyoming Eagle, Cheyenne, July 9, and Lodi CA News-Sentinel, July 9)
* Intermediate accounts between earlier and later UP stories
* Both papers carried an earlier, Washington dateline story with Ramey's Pentagon statements
-- It was being forwarded to Wright Field
-- It was found "three weeks ago" (change from original press release)
-- AAF headquarters said there was a "security lid" except for sketchy details
-- Ramey by telephone with the Pentagon said it was badly battered
-- It was a flimsy, kite-like object about 25 feet in diameter and covered with tinfoil (same
Pentagon statements reported by AP, Washington Post, ABC radio)
-- Ramey "scoffed" at it being piloted or flying at supersonic speed like reported saucers
-- It was too lightly constructed to carry anyone; it had no power plant
-- It had no identification marks and Ramey emphasized no one had seen it in flight
-- "AAF sources ruled out the possibility that it might have been an army weather-kite"
(AAF weather experts unwittingly contradicted story Ramey was trying to put out)
-- AAF commanders in N.M. would not allow photographs because it was "high level stuff"
-- Ramey didn't attach much importance to find pending investigation
-- Repeated earlier UP statement that Roswell commander Blanchard issued release
and specifically called object a "flying disc"
-- Repeated earlier Sheriff Wilcox statements to UP such as rancher finding it 3 weeks ago,
thinking maybe it was a "weather meter", and saying it was only as big as Sheriff's safe.
* Nevada State Journal carried last-minute Fort Worth dateline story of Ramey's radio broadcast
-- Ramey went on radio to "deflate the wild stories"
-- Said it was the remnants of a tin-foil box kite and rubber balloon (singular weather balloon story)
-- It was "a high-altitude weather observation device--a very normal gadget in weather bureau
operations" (widespread use story)
-- No instruments were found with wreckage
-- Ramey said he knew nothing about the flying disks
-- Nothing in story of identification by Ramey's weather officer, which UP announced a little later
* Lodi News-Sentinel carried unique two sentences about another "object" being found in Louisianna and turned over to the AAF there. Turned out to be a clear-cut hoax. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover would complain a few days later how the Army "grabbed" the "La." "disc" and wouldn't let the FBI have it for examination.
2. Chicago datelines
* Common elements to the two stories:
-- Start with paragraphs to the effect that the AAF whipped up "a flurry of excitement" by announcing
find of "flying saucer", but it turned out to be a weather device.
-- Roswell commander Col. Blanchard made the initial announcement--specifically called
the object a "flying disc"
-- An AAF spokesman (not identified) said Brazel ["Brizell"] found the object "a couple of weeks ago"
-- Similar to earlier AP stories, claim reports from Ramey, AAF Washington spokesman, and Sheriff
Wilcox (adding Wilcox was unique) indicated "reconstructed" object would have 25 foot
diameter, too flimsy to carry a person, and no source of power or capacity for speed.
-- Ramey on the radio said it was a high altitude weather device, a rubber balloon and tin foil
covered box kite, and he didn't know anything about the flying discs.
* Ramey's earlier statements
-- Courier reported Ramey saying device to be flown to Wright Field followed by Pentagon
repeating announcement, saying they were told of this by Ramey
-- Courier provided Ramey's earlier description to Pentagon of flimsy box kite, smashed, and
covered with tinfoil
* Both versions mention identification by weather officer Newton in Fort Worth, but carry
different statements from him:
-- Inquirer version quoted Newton much like the AP does: called object a "ray wind" target and
said 80 weather stations use them; could have come from any of them
-- Courier version used correct name of "rawin" device, and claimed he said "every army weather
station in the nation" used them four times a day.
* Courier: The Pentagon also issued a denial that the flying discs could be "space ships".
(The far more common UP story carried on July 9 and fairly uniform in content. No dateline.)
* Starts with the statement that "the Army and Navy began a concentrated campaign to
stop the rumors"
* Claims "diehard" principles (not identified) refused to accept weather balloon explanation.
Then gives a numbered account of story:
1. Roswell PIO Haut released a statement in the name of Col. Blanchard. Inaccurately states
the release said object was found on "Foster ranch 3 weeks ago by W. W. Brazel" (actual
release said "sometime last week" and didn't provide location of ranch or name of rancher)
2. Repeats earlier UP reports of Ramey IDing debris as "remnant of weather balloon
and radar reflector." "He allowed photographers to take a picture of it." Then it was being sent to Wright Field for examination by experts.
3. Later it was identified by weather officer Newton.
4. Haut reportedly received "two blistering phone calls from Washington."
5. Col. Blanchard couldn't be contacted and was said to be on leave.
6. Major Marcel reportedly told Brazel "it has nothing to do with the Army or Navy.."
7. Brazel told reporters that what he found didn't resemble previously found weather balloons.
* Claims that "those men who saw object" (not IDed) saw "flowered paper tape" with the initials "D.P."
* Has statement by weather officer Newton about every Army weather station in the country using
the wind sounding devices four times daily. Adds maybe this explains the mystery discs.
* Quotes Ramey on the radio
-- Denies object is a flying disc
-- Calls it "remnants of a tinfoil covered box kite and a rubber balloon"
-- Says no instruments were found with wreckage
* Weathermen couldn't agree on whether people were seeing their balloons.
* Mentions a mass sighting at Pearl Harbor by 100 Navy men of a silvery object sailing over Honolulu
at a high rate of speed. Claims description matched a weather balloon, but 5 of the men familiar
with the balloons disagreed.
* Admiral Blandy quoted saying he is interested but doesn't think they exist.
* Orville Wright opines the flying saucers are government propaganda to get us into another war.
* Another story showing the interest of the foreign press in the Roswell events
* Like the Nevada State Journal UP story in mentioning Ramey going on radio, giving singular weather
balloon story, admitting he was trying to quiet the "wild stories" and denying ever seeing a flying disc.
* Also like the Nevada S.J. in never mentioning the weather officer identification.
* Like the later main U.P. story in mentioning Admiral Blandy's comments, but quoting him even more.
* Also like the later main story in mentioned the mass sighting at Pearl Harbor.
* Unique in quoting U.S. Senator Glen Taylor saying he hoped saucers were extraterrestrial because
they would unite the world against a possible universal threat.
INS (International News Service) -- July 9
* Chicago dateline; extremely rare (only example found in hundreds of reviewed newspapers)
* Similar to UP's opening line, stated that reports of flying discs dropped sharply as each new
discovery blew up upon Army and Navy investigation.
* Started with the Roswell incident, calling it a spectacular report "spiked" by AAF officials.
-- It was nothing but the"ragged, stained remnants of a weather observation balloon"
-- Claimed the report of the so-called "disc" originated from the public relations office at
Roswell & AAF Pentagon officers were "displeased" with the base public relations officials.
-- Quoted Ramey as saying, "To me the flying discs are just like the purple cow.
I never saw one."
* Rest of article was devoted to blatant saucer debunkery
-- Mentioned two obvious hoax disk cases
-- Said more and more citizens were beginning to doubt every new report of discs
-- Quoted the director of the Harvard Observatory, who said the explanation was for the psychiatrists,
not astronomers. He then suggested rubbing your eyeballs or getting drunk to see the disks.
* Article finished by saying there were still people saying there was something to it, and the military was still
checking every report closely.
* Fort Worth dateline; also extremely rare (only 3 examples found)
* Had a few elements of Chicago dateline story, but had many more almost exactly the same as main UP
Roswell story. Either copied from UP or UP and INS used exactly the same written sources.
-- Had almost exactly same line that Army and Navy were running "concentrated campaign" to stop saucer
rumors (same idea but worded very differently in other INS story)
-- Almost same wording about Pentagon delivering "blistering rebuke to officers at Roswell"
(same idea but worded very differently in other INS story)
-- Almost same wording about Roswell Sheriff Wilcox getting calls from from English newspapers (but without
UP mistake of Wilcox being in Fort Worth)
* Had some unique elements:
-- Referred to weather balloon shown by Ramey as "weather stained rubberized 'disc'". Only INS called
the object "stained" (both stories). Real photos show an unstained, probably new radar target.
-- Named one of Ramey's public information officers (Haist) mentioned nowhere else. He correctly IDed
radar target as a "rawin" device (as did UP Chicago dateline story).
* Ends with blatant debunkery, like other INS story. Three scientists are used as authority figures to ridicule
the saucers as a form of mass hysteria, mental disorder, or spots before eyes. One (psychiatrist) also quoted
in UP main story (he secretly worked with OSS during WWII on psychoactive drugs for interrogation);
another (Harvard astronomer) also quoted in other INS story
Associated Press articles probably represented at least 70% of all newspapers stories on the Roswell events. There were a number of different later AP versions of the story published on July 9, often disagreeing with one another and United Press on some of the facts. They are grouped into different versions by dateline and similarities of wording and organization. However, the stories were variously edited by different newspapers, and the recreated versions represent composites of multiple newspapers. The first four versions carry Fort Worth datelines, the first three from July 8, and the fourth dated July 9. The fifth, regional version carries a Roswell dateline from July 8.
(composite of 3 newspapers, including the first Fort Worth Star-Telegram story of Wednesday morning, July 9, and the Oklahoma City Oklahoman Wednesday morning edition) -- stories have some variation: start the same or similarly but two end with unique items.
* This is probably the first AP version of the new official military story that emerged from Fort
first announcing the official identification by the weather officer. Two of the newspapers also
lack mention of Ramey's subsequent radio broadcast.
* Started with a statement to the effect that the Roswell flying disc was "stripped of its glamour"
by a Fort Worth weather officer, who IDed it as a weather balloon.
* Gave the official radar target identification by weather officer Irving Newton
* Quoted Newton; Newton said radar targets in widespread use--device could have come from
any of 80 weather stations. Newton's quotes are in all subsequent Fort Worth based stories.
Similar Ramey statements got added in later stories.
* The first story to claim the weather device was flown to Fort Worth from Roswell at 10 a.m.
on orders of Ramey. This statement remained in the longer, main story.
* At direct odds with this, later claimed object was dispatched to Fort Worth immediately after
Col. Blanchard reported find to Gen. Ramey. "At that time" Roswell PIO Walter Haut
announced that the AAF had obtained a "flying disk" (thus placing flight in mid-afternoon
when press release came out instead of the morning).
* Gave new official version of rancher Brazel's find and reporting of discovery, attributing
story to Roswell intelligence officer Major Marcel
-- Date of discovery changed to "3 weeks previously"
-- Claimed weather device "scattered over a square mile"
-- Claimed Brazel bundled together broken weather kite & rubber balloon and "rolled it under some brush"
-- Said Brazel heard about saucers Saturday night in Corona.
-- He "rushed home," and "dug up" kite balloon on Sunday.
-- He waited until Monday to report find to Sheriff in Roswell.
-- Marcel assigned to case. He and Brazel went back to ranch; Marcel took the object "into the
custody of the Army."
* Stories diverged at this point. Star-Telegram ended saying Ramey declared it was a
weather balloon after his first look. The weather officer merely verified his view. Ramey's
instantaneous identification also appeared in a following edition in a different story with the
Star-Telegram's own account of events.
* Oklahoman story added following, often unique items at end:
-- Roswell base announced find with straight face. But AAF headquarters in Washington
claimed officers in Roswell who had seen material were of the strong opinion that it was a meteorological device after consulting with weather experts. This is a unique item in all AP stories and contradicts other AP stories where the weather experts ruled out the possibility that it was a weather kite.
-- Repeated 25 foot diameter object description of earlier AP stories, also describing its wood
frame and tinfoil-like covering, indicating this large size was being attributed to radar target.
(statements originally ascribed to Ramey in calls to Pentagon in earlier AP stories). Size
description was in gross contradiction to actual radar target size and what was shown.
-- Mentioned Ramey going on radio and repeating identification. Quote of Ramey's from
broadcast included. This is an indication that this story was written a little later than those
found in the other two newspapers.
-- Roswell base PIO Walter Haut blamed for alleged mistaken press release, a theme
repeated in subsequent AP stories. UP maintained it was Col. Blanchard's release.
* Changed opening paragraph. Started by saying discovery of "flying disc" reported by Army
PIO a "dud" -- just a weather balloon.
* Repeated statements of weather officer Newton found in first version.
* Added Ramey went on a Fort Worth radio station Tuesday night and repeated weather
balloon ID, but doesn't quote from Ramey
* Added Ramey was also to broadcast over NBC radio, but this wasn't done. (This was an AP
bulletin just before the 7:30 bulletin announcing the official ID.)
* Repeated the new official story of Brazel's find and reporting of it to the Roswell sheriff.
-- Again said debris scattered over a square mile.
-- Usually said device found 3 weeks before, but one paper kept the original
"found last week"
* Dropped mention of the 10 a.m. flight. Repeated timeline of object dispatched to Fort Worth
immediately after it was reported to Ramey and at time of press release.
* Quoted first paragraph of Roswell press release issued by Haut.
* Added more on weather balloons. (This was a separate AP story generally incorporated into the
-- Said a similar object found last night by a farmer in Missouri and IDed by weather experts
-- Quoted Army weather experts in Washington, saying radar targets not in widespread use.
-- Civilian weather chief also quoted, saying he's skeptical weather balloons account for
disk reports; claimed weather service sometimes used radar targets used at sea, not land.
* Kept the Fort Worth, July 8 dateline. Longest and possibly most commonly printed version.
* Started saying object found near Roswell IDed by 8th Air Force Tuesday night as a
weather balloon and its kite; Gen. Ramey made the announcement.
* Repeated weather officer Newton's ID and quotes, as in previous two stories
* Added Gen. Ramey also claiming widespread and frequent use of devices
* Added Ramey saying it was definitely a U.S. Army device.
* Added back in claim weather device flown to Fort Worth at 10 a.m. by orders of Ramey.
Dropped the later contradictory statement of flight at about same time press release came out.
* Mentioned Ramey going on Fort Worth radio afterwards and repeating identification;
Ramey was more extensively quoted:
-- Spoke over Fort Worth radio station WBAP Tuesday night
-- Ramey said people should contact nearest Army base or Sheriff if they thought they found
a "flying disc"
-- Claimed he wasn't saying radar targets were the disks, but the targets also "could
be mistaken for almost anything when seen in the air." (Ramey speaking out of both sides of his mouth)
-- Said the disks were not Army gadgets, as far as he knew.
* Story added that 8th AAF headquarters was flooded with queries about the reported object.
* Added the claim that the flight to Wright Field was canceled.
* Unknown Ramey PIO quoted saying debris still in Ramey's office and would "probably
stay right there."
* Repeated the official story of Brazel finding and reporting debris as in 2 previous versions.
Dropped the part of Marcel being assigned to case and returning to ranch to get object.
* Repeated story of find of similar device in Missouri and skeptical remarks of military
and civilian weather experts that weather balloons account for disks.
(Composite story from 8 newspapers, including Roswell Daily Record; perhaps incorporated items from Roswell provided by Daily Record)
* Started saying an examination by Army revealed that "a mysterious object" found on a
N.M. ranch was a harmless weather balloon.
* Excitement was high until Gen. Ramey cleared up the mystery.
* Bundle of tinfoil, broken beams, and rubber remnants of balloon shipped to Fort Worth
by Army air transport (time not specified in this story).
* Brief quotes from weather officer Newton about weather balloons; no Newton quotes about
widespread use or Newton actually IDing object.
* Went back to original story of weather balloon being found "several days ago" by rancher
Brazel, not "three weeks" before as in previous three story.
* Brief recount of Brazel hearing about disks on Saturday night, recovering wreckage placed
under brush, and hurrying to Roswell to report find to Sheriff (days not given).
* Said Sheriff called Roswell base and Marcel was assigned to case, but doesn't say Marcel went
back to ranch with Brazel and took possession of find.
* Again said Blanchard reported find to Ramey and it was flown immediately to Fort Worth,
but nothing about simultaneous announcement of find by Roswell PIO Haut.
* Said Brazel's discovery reported by Roswell PIO Haut Tuesday afternoon as definitely
being one of the "flying discs."
* Again reported Ramey going on the radio; only has him saying it was "not a flying disc."
* Added items from Roswell
-- Sheriff Wilcox's phone lines were jammed; got 3 calls from England
-- Short items from Brazel's press interview: Sorry he said anything about it, amazed at
fuss, wouldn't report anything again unless it was a bomb.
-- Claimed Brazel spoke to AP early Wednesday morning (wrong -- spoke Tuesday night).
(Composite from Albuquerque Journal and San Antonio Express; portions also in Houston Post)
* Carried a Roswell, July 8, dateline instead of a Fort Worth dateline as in previous 4 AP stories.
* Noteworthy for its unique quotes from Roswell Sheriff Wilcox, including working with
the military and statements of when Brazel made find and came to Roswell that
contradict statements credited to Wilcox by UP.
* Started by specifically blaming Roswell PIO for identifying rancher's "strange object" as a flying disc.
* Had Army weather officer (name not given) first identifying object, not Ramey.
* Said phone lines clogged into Roswell, Wilcox being the busiest
* Wilcox quoted as getting 3 calls form London papers, every big paper in the U.S., the radio networks,
* Once again blamed the "discredited" identification on Roswell PIO Walter Haut
* Quoted first line of press release from Haut
* Additional statements from Sheriff Wilcox in Roswell
-- Wilcox gives Brazel's age as 50 and says find made on Foster ranch near Corona.
-- Quoted saying Brazel reported find Monday and that he made his discovery
"some days before" (one version) or "two or three days before." (contradicting UP's Wilcox quote of 3 weeks before)
-- Wilcox said he immediately called Major Marcel, and Marcel accompanied Brazel back to ranch
to recover the object.
-- Wilcox claimed he didn't see object but Brazel described it as "about three feet across."
-- Wilcox declined to elaborate saying "I'm working with those fellows at the base."
* Shortened version of AAF weather chief's statements in Washington.
* Is basically a slightly rewritten main AP story with a new introduction, along with some local angles,
particularly about the flood of phone calls to the sheriff and the Dispatch after the press release,
and local reporter George Walsh breaking the story with the AP.
* Lacks insightful and original reporting of a big, local news story. Although the Dispatch was one of
four news outlets in Roswell receiving the local base press release, nothing is ever said about it,
except for AP main story's one sentence introduction to it.
* Is unique (and wrong) in twice claiming debris flown to Fort Worth by a B-25 instead of a B-29,
as reported by everybody else, including AP.
* Side item mentions London Daily Mail calling Sheriff Wilcox and papers all over the country
calling the Dispatch, including the Chicago Tribune and Milwaukee Journal. (However, neither
the Tribune or Journal or Daily Mail reported anything about such conversations.) Bulk of item was
anecdote about how hot it was in Roswell.
* Very similar to AP coverage, perhaps directly taken from it
* Unique in having one of Ramey's intelligence officers (Major Kirton) speaking for him and
giving generic weather balloon description but no explicit ID, as in other stories
-- Claimed Ramey told him "it looks like a hexagonal object covered with tinfoil" and "suspended
from a balloon of about 20 feet in diameter." (Note: In other stories, Ramey and AF spokespeople claimed it was the tinfoil radar target, not the balloon, that was 20 to 25 feet in diameter if reconstructed.)
-- It was "possibly a weather balloon" but allegedly no one at Fort Worth base recognized
object as army type balloon. (Not according to other stories. E.g. in main AP story, Ramey was quoted as saying it was definitely a U.S. Army device.)
* Kirton also spoke to Dallas FBI and Dallas Morning News & gave them somewhat different accounts.
Description given to Reuters, however, is similar to that found in FBI telegram. The Morning News
was told it was definitely a weather balloon and radar target and flight to Wright Field was canceled.
New! (Added October 2003)
* Essentially the same Roswell story as in the Canadian paper except with an abbreviated Kirton quote.
* Unique item was Truman's press secretary saying there were no investigations of the flying
* Additional earlier Reuters UFO news items were also included.
Canadian Press -- July 9 (New! Added Jan. 2006)
* Basically slightly rewritten AP coverage (including same name spelling mistakes)
* Does add that flying saucers were reported in 5 Canadian provinces in addition to 41 states.
* Has a rather bizarre story from a Canadian witness who claimed incredible eyesight.
* One paper took editorial liberties and rewrote Roswell part of story for laughs. Roswell PIO
Walter Haut blamed for flying disc press release. Called flying disc stories "a lot of nonsense
veined with plain and fancy lying."
Independent or Unusual Coverage
* Important and unique in stating they personally interviewed Ramey and were the first
* Ramey described a weather balloon and radar target to them.
* A weather officer came in later and made a "definite identification."
* Ramey promptly abandoned the planned flight to the air laboratories at Wright Field
* Claimed they were first to correct the "boner" of the public relations officer at Roswell
(may be origin of INS bulletin published by L.A. Herald-Express July 8 of Ramey's identification)
* Stated Gen. Vandenberg "personally took charge" of the situation at the AAF press room
* Coverage seems heavily derived from AP; article almost tabloid in tone.
* Reported Gen. Vandenberg "hurried" to the AAF press headquarters.
* Like Examiner, said that the story was changed by Ramey "within an hour" of the base
* Had usual Ramey Pentagon quotes: No one had seen it in the air, it was flimsy in construction, and
made of tin foil. Lacked Ramey's early identification reported by Examiner, UP, and INS.
* It was to be flown to laboratories at Wright Field (Ramey not named as the source)
* Finally weather officer Newton ID'ed it as being a weather balloon used by 80 different weather
* Insinuated that Roswell PIO Walter Haut was the source of the release and the one to
absolutely state that flying disk had been found.
* Carried remarks about saucers by Admiral William H. Blandy, who was in New York. Blandy said he
* Like S.F. Examiner and N.Y. Times articles, had Ramey starting to change the story about
an hour after the news broke.
-- Ramey "wasn't sure exactly what it was.."
-- Ramey "advanced a theory it might be a meteorological device."
-- Ramey then ordered it flown to Wright Field for examination by experts.
* Article has overall ridiculing tone; generally paraphrased AP coverage without credit
* Roswell PIO Walter Haut heavily blamed for press release: "an army press agent mistook
remnants of a weather balloon" and then put out an "unequivocal announcement that a flying disk
had been found."
* Launched into rehash of AP main story, including weather officer Newton's identification, rancher
finding and reporting to Sheriff
* A "worried public" and "red-faced" Pentagon brass said to be relieved by Newton's ID.
* Mentions international sighting reports from South Africa and Australia
* Ends with an exclusive Tribune item of the Canadian Minister of Defense denying that the disks
originated from a joint U.S.-Canadian proving ground in western Canada
* Stated "an afternoon of excitement" reached into Washington D.C. circles.
* Despite being identified as a weather instrument, Ramey still had to go on the radio
Tuesday evening because of all the interest.
* Roswell announced that the object had been found "last week."
* Military intelligence at Roswell first looked over the instrument, then forwarded it to Wright Field.
* It disappeared "for an hour or so" after the Roswell announcement, and turned up in
Fort Worth being examined by officers there.
* The AP stated Gen. Vandenberg hurried to the AAF press section in Washington to "take active charge"
of the investigation.
* Unique item has Major E. M. Kirton, one of Ramey's intelligence officers, talking to the Morning
News and "blowing the disk theory sky high."
-- Kirton IDed object correctly as a "rawin" device used by Army and civilian weather services.
-- Kirton's specific ID was at 5:30 pm, well before weather officer Irving Newton's official ID
-- Kirton also used the six-pointed star description later used by Newton
-- He added that flight to Wright Field was no longer needed, well before Ramey announced this.
-- He spoke of the target being attached to a 20-foot balloon, a description he also gave the Dallas FBI at
about the same time (but told them the flight to Wright Field was on).
-- He said they would probably throw away the weather device.
* Was an unusual mix of UP and AP accounts plus some independent reporting, resulting in sometimes
inconsistent accounts of what happened.
* Claimed the "disc" was finally identified after being in "official hands" for "nearly two days."
Later used AP account of Brazel going to Roswell Monday (statements inconsistent).
* Claimed it puzzled AAF officers at Fort Worth until it was identified by a weather officer
(inconsistent with other accounts of Ramey never being puzzled)
* Claimed it was a box-kite type weather balloon used by U.S. and Army weather stations all
over the country (another claim of widespread use).
* Used basic AP story account of Brazel's discovering object and reporting it. Differed in
saying Brazel waited only a week before coming to town (instead of three weeks).
* Had a rather unique account of what happened at the Pentagon (Post had a Pentagon correspondent)
-- AAF officials/public relations men were "flabbergasted" and "puzzled" when told by newsmen
of statements from "Texas" (obviously meaning New Mexico)
-- Gave out only "bare details," then "clamped a security lid on" since it was "high level stuff"
-- Gen. Vandenberg "dropped into" headquarters "in midst of excitement"
-- Under Vandenberg's "personal direction," they "burned up the wires to Texas and N.M."
-- Ramey gave oft-reported Pentagon description:of flimsy construction, like box-kite, made of
wood and tinfoil
-- Unique statement by Ramey that he hadn't seen it yet! Said it was in his office. Went to take a
look; called back that "it was about 25 feet in diameter."
-- Ramey said he was shipping it to Wright Field, but would have a weather officer look first.
* Ramey went on a Fort Worth radio to say "flying disc" was a weather balloon. He canceled a
previously announced broadcast over NBC
* INS reported White House saying Truman knew nothing about the saucers
* Has several unique statements that go against the grain of most stories.
-- Stated the Army thought it had a real flying disk for 7-1/2 hours (elsewhere, story reported
lasting only 3 hours -- could be difference between reported flight time of 10 a.m. and
time of reported ID at 5:30 MST).
-- Claimed the excitement began at 1 pm (no time zone specified), whereas elsewhere reported
that story hit AP wire at either 4:26 or 5:26 pm EDT (or 2:26 Roswell standard time).
-- Army intelligence had imposed strict secrecy, then removed it after identification
(Washington Post, however, claimed it was public relations officers who imposed secrecy).
-- Ramey was "an early doubter" and "thought it was a weather instrument of some kind,
but was not sure." (similar to Chicago Tribune account)
-- Claimed "metal, foil and fabric" device lay on the floor of Ramey's office for "a couple of
hours" before being definitely identified by weather officer Newton.
-- Said intel. officers (in the plural) visited ranch and picked up object "yesterday morning"
or Monday morning, July 8. Also used UP quote from Sheriff Wilcox of Brazel coming to town
"the day before yesterday" or Sunday. (Similar to Washington Post story of object being in military
hands for nearly two days, but contrary to most accounts of Brazel coming to town on Monday,
indicating, given the travel delays, it couldn't be retrieved until late Monday afternoon.)
* Used UP's earlier reporting of Col. Blanchard issuing press release, calling it a "flying disk," and
of Sheriff Wilcox saying Brazel had found it three weeks before.
* Used AP reporting of weather officer Newton's statements in Fort Worth.
* Stated that "report of the discovery went out to the nation by radio" and "Roswell became a
major news capital."
* Much of story is close to the AP main story and other AP reports. Some think much of AP story
originated from Star-Telegram instead of the other way around. (The earliest morning edition used
AP story variant #3 above .)
* Carried some unique quotes from Major Marcel and Col. Dubose (Ramey's chief of staff)
not found elsewhere, including AP stories.(only story in which Dubose quoted).
* Extra part of story attributed to Marcel not part of usual AP stories
-- Brazel "bundled together the large pile of tinfoil and broken wooden beams about one-fourth
of an inch thick and half-inch wide and the torn mass of synthetic rubber that had been the
balloon and rolled it under some brush"
-- Brazel came to town on Monday and Marcel returned with him to ranch. They "spent a couple
of hours Monday afternoon looking for any more parts of the weather device"
-- They "found a few more patches of tinfoil and rubber."
-- Marcel returned "early Tuesday morning."
-- Marcel reported to Col. Blanchard at 8 a.m.
* Like AP main story, claimed object flown to Fort Worth Tuesday morning.
* Again contradicting this, also said Blanchard reported to Ramey, Ramey ordered it flown to Fort Worth
immediately, and "about that time word broke from Roswell," which was in the afternoon.
* Dubose said the tinfoil on the kite was similar to radar chaff used during the war and also devices
on life rafts to facilitate air-sea rescue. (Dubose later headed AF air rescue.)
* Stated that "as soon as the 'disk' was brought into Gen. Ramey's office, he and Col. Dubose
tabbed it as a weather device. The weather officer merely made identification positive."
(Another assertion that Ramey's ID was immediate; Dubose's identification is unique.)
* Unique statement that Ramey had been ordered to fly the "disk" to Wright Field "
immediately" after a phone conversation with the Air Material Command there.
* The flight was canceled after the Rawin weather target was positively identified (actually used
correct spelling of "rawin" instead of "ray wind" used in other stories).
* An unusual composite story using Reuters, AP, and UP sources.
* Reuters' quote from Ramey has some notable differences from similar Reuters' quotes
-- Ramey says he doesn't know what it is, contrary to other stories, like the Fort Worth Star-Telegram,
where Ramey instantly identifies it.
-- Ramey claims none of his weather men recognized it as an Army-type balloon, whereas Irving Newton, the only weather officer at the base and whom Ramey brought in only later, had no trouble at all identifying
it as an Army radar target, as noted later in the story.
* Story of Sheriff Wilcox being bombarded with calls from news agencies all over the world
* Called by newspapers, radio networks, and "top officials on an international scope."
* Newspapers from all over the country called plus Mexico City and several from England.
* Networks and news agencies that called were NBC, CBS, Trans Radio, AP, UP, International
News Service (INS), International News Photo, and Paramount News.
* Stated furor began Monday (July 7) when rancher Brazel came to sheriff's office and "reported
finding an object which fitted the description of the flying discs."
* Report taken by Deputy Sheriff B. A. Clark, who immediately notified Wilcox, who turned it
over to "Army authorities at RAAF."
* Major Jesse Marcel and "an Army crew" went out to pick up the object.
* Supposedly no one in sheriff's office saw the object at any time.
* Wilcox could only state who found it and where it was found. "Descriptions other than its
reported size were not available."
* Brazel reportedly said the object was broken in two and shaped like a box kite. Contrary to
previous descriptions, the object was rectangular and measured three by four feet. (The actual
rawin targets, however, were hexagonal or star-shaped.)
* Army sources did not provide any descriptions of the appearance of the disc.
* The Dispatch used standard AP wire stories for their main Roswell story and, except for the
Wilcox story, lacked independent local coverage.
* Had a shorter Sheriff Wilcox story, but provided some details of an unidentified "high English official"
who called Wilcox.
-- The official reportedly said "we are just as much interested in your disks as you are" and
wanted more details than had been provided by the Associated Press. Excitement over the
flying saucers was also said to have spread to England.
-- The official's call was one of three from England, the other two being newspapers.
* Wilcox also said to have received a call from Mexico and dozens from all over the U.S.
* Daily Record's main Roswell story was AP variant #4 above with no independent reporting of what the
Albuquerque office sent to Roswell and their wirephoto of Brazel, the first wirephoto ever transmitted from
Roswell. It also had a skeptical editorial of the Army's new official story of a weather balloon.
* Included along with Daily Record version in separate section.
* Notable only for its unique statement that press release came out about 5:30 EDT. This is the
only article found so far that specifies the time as daylight savings time.
* Rest of story is a ripped off and uncredited version of main AP story. Story was rewritten for laughs and
is very sarcastic, biased, and inaccurate. (Maybe the given time of the press release wasn't accurate either.)
* Essentially rewrites, usually of AP wire stories by NY foreign correspondents; not much new here.
* Note how quoted wording of Roswell press release gets changed, sometimes altering meaning.
* Gen. Ramey's/Pentagon's description of 20-25 foot object repeated in two stories.
* London Daily Herald notes press release coming out "just before midnight" London time, another indication
that the press release came out mid- to late afternoon in the U.S.
* London Daily Mirror supposedly spoke to Sheriff Wilcox, but nothing was ever reported in the Mirror.
* Manchester Guardian also searched, and used slightly rewritten and shortened AP wire accounts.
* Main, front page story, yet another indication that Roswell was also a major international story
* Earlier story, with no official ID as a weather balloon
* Labeled a UP story, yet also has elements of Reuters and AP coverage, such as characteristic AP
misspelling of Roswell PIO Walter Haut's name and saying "disc" was "loaned" to higher headquarters
instead of UP's "flown." Unique misspelling of Ramey's name ("Romney").
* Some unusual quotes from Einstein and Orson Welles on the flying saucers. Einstein says "no comment"
and claims to have been completely unaware of the saucers until contacted by UP. Orson Welles says
he's not responsible and scaring the nation once with his 1938 "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast