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2364Marcel's Previously Unknown Last Words On Roswell Crash

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  • Stig Agermose
    Sep 30, 1999
      Source: 'space.com'




      Marcel's Last Words on Roswell Crash

      By Robert Scott Martin
      Staff Writer

      Sep 30 1999 12:21:09 ET �


      Jesse Marcel, late in his life. Click to enlarge.

      Marcel unfurls a sheet of unidentified debris in 1947 (credit: Fort Worth
      Star-Telegram). Click to enlarge.]

      According to a previously unknown 1981 interview, Jesse Marcel, the Roswell
      Air Force Base intelligence officer who transformed UFO history when he
      recovered pieces of an unidentified object in the desert, maintained to the
      end of his life that the object was no weather balloon.

      Linda Corley, who interviewed Marcel five years before his death, closed
      the 1999 National UFO Conference with a largely impressionistic portrait of
      the man's last years in Houma, LA, where she still lives.

      Corley contacted Marcel after a college professor told her class to
      interview "an interesting person." The resulting four-hour conversation
      between Marcel, his wife, Viaud, and Corley took place around the Marcels'
      kitchen table on May 5, 1981, and was recorded on an inexpensive student
      cassette player.

      One of the most significant details to emerge from the discussion, believed
      to be Marcel's last in-depth public statement on the Roswell affair, was
      the fact that Marcel firmly denied having seen alien corpses in the wreckage.

      "Had there been bodies of aliens in the debris, I would have picked them up
      and brought them in," Corley quoted him as saying.

      The absence of corpses flies in the face of orthodox Roswell crash
      mythology. Stanton Friedman, author of Top Secret/MAJIC, Crash at Corona
      and other UFO exposes, has previously stated that other sources told him
      that both debris and bodies were recovered from the crash site, and the
      possible existence of alien passengers in the crashed object has been one
      of the main factors fuelling the Roswell industry.

      Theoretically, of course, Marcel could simply have been unaware of any
      alien bodies, which may have been taken away before he toured the wreckage.
      However, this is unlikely. Why would a super-secret effort to recover any
      bodies before Marcel arrived on the scene leave the strange wreckage
      behind? Why not take everything?

      Not a balloon

      Even in the absence of aliens, Marcel remained convinced that the wreckage
      was not, as the Air Force has since maintained, part of a downed top-secret

      "The material was unusual," Corley said he told her. " It couldn't have
      been a balloon. It was porous, it couldn't hold air."

      To the best of Marcel's knowledge, the military kept all of the strange
      metallic fabric that predominated the debris, along with the structural
      elements that looked like wood but didn't burn.

      He had little patience for either the original explanation that the "flying
      disk" recovered from Roswell was part of a weather balloon, or the official
      story of a highly classified Mogul spy balloon that emerged later.

      The infamous photograph of Brigadier General Roger Ramey displaying the
      wreckage was unquestionably a fake, he said, staged later "strictly for the

      "Publicity is not what I want"

      Significantly, Marcel does not come across in the Corley interview as a man
      making up an outlandish story to get attention and possibly money as well,
      as skeptics have claimed.

      "Publicity is not what I want," she quotes him as saying. "I feel like I'm
      a nobody and I'm going to stay a nobody � talk about these things and they
      get a net after you."

      Nor was he a "true believer" interested in spreading his story to win
      public support for the UFO cause.

      "I became disinterested" with UFOs, he said. "There's something wrong with
      me -- I'm still curious, but I'm not reading."

      Patriotism, silence and their rewards

      Marcel described himself as a young man to Corley as being extremely
      ambitious, "like ten cats on a hot tin roof," a characterization borne out
      by more than 8 years of active military duty.

      Still, he left the army at a relatively young age in 1950, whereupon he
      learned he had received a "stealth promotion" to the rank of lieutenant
      colonel in December, 1948. The file explaining the promotion had been
      misplaced, he told Corley.

      Corley now says Marcel felt unable to tell her everything he knew about
      certain subjects, quoting him as saying, "I left the service, but remain
      loyal to the country and a vow I took to keep my mouth shut."

      That very vow may explain why he called her a few weeks after the interview
      in a "frantic" mood to tell her that everything he had said had been a lie.
      He insisted that she not release the information to the press, and so she
      kept the interview out of the public eye for more than a decade, not even
      turning it in as part of her school assignment.

      "My heart really went out to him because he sounded so scared," she said.

      Even Memorex fades

      Instead, she kept the tapes on the shelf, unplayed but preserved as a
      testament to the possibly "unique information" they held. By the time
      Stanton Friedman heard of the interview and asked Corley to release the
      tapes, they had already decayed and were of dubious use to him.

      "It seemed I had waited too long," she said. Instead, the faded recordings
      forced her to transcribe the interview herself, she said, using her
      likewise transitory memories to fill in the gaps. She also made use of a
      new cassette player that "cleaned" the tapes during playback.

      Although Friedman returned two of the three tapes to her in 1995 and the
      third in 1996, Corley held back on releasing the material until Mrs.
      Marcel's recent death, she said.

      Working with the tapes evidently stirred a profound wave of nostalgia in
      Corley, as she waxed rhapsodic about the feeling of listening to the
      innocent and enthusiastic voice of her girlhood after all the years. She
      framed the afternoon with the Marcels as an almost holy moment, an event
      somehow set outside time by her own proximity to the golden age of flying
      saucers and the catastrophic interruption of Roswell.

      Corley named the trees in the Marcels' backyard, showed slides of the
      suburban house and the elderly couple slouched over their kitchen table.
      The event has so ingrained itself in her emotional makeup that she has
      spent apparently vast amounts of time and energy doodling the "pink and
      purple" marks -- often called an example of some alien alphabet in the
      literature -- in various patterns and color schemes.

      Earnestness or artifice?

      If Corley can exude such apparent yearning and personal attachment to a
      hoax, then her hoax is one of extraordinary complexity. Her somewhat formal
      public speaking style and outsider's willingness to retrace details that
      are common knowledge in the Roswell field may be the marks of an authentic
      novice thrust by circumstance into the eye of UFOlogy, or they may be only
      an artful mask designed to draw attention away from an interview that never
      took place.

      What motivation could she (or, in theory, Friedman) have in going to such
      extreme lengths to sugar-coat a hoax?

      Her prepared speech -- of a dozen NUFOC speakers, she is the only one I
      remember reading from pre-written sheets -- wandered down blind alleys of
      recollection with all the apparent earnestness of the college psychology
      paper that it was once meant to be. Would a brilliant deception of the kind
      required to fake such earnestness even stoop to such a pose?

      Complicating the issue is Corley's newfound desire to publish a book --
      presumably to at least a small material gain -- containing her transcripts
      of the tapes, which are of course sadly no longer readily useable by
      independent researchers.

      The book will reportedly focus on Marcel's patriotism and his recollections
      of his own golden youth at the dawn of the saucer age, but the question of
      why she would make the material available for wide release now after
      letting the tapes fade for so long remains to be adequately answered. Until
      that answer emerges (or more independent parties evaluate the tapes), her
      story must sadly remain at least a little suspect.�


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