Well, that was quick. Shortly after the news of a new FBI memo confirming aliens at Roswell hit the news wires, it was swiftly debunked.
The infamous “Hottel memo” was posted on several news websites around the interwebs recently, including the FBI’s “Vault” and even here at Blippitt. The memo allegedly confirms that a UFO crash-landed in Roswell in the 1940s and that the details were covered up.
As it turns out, this memo has been circulating for many years. The “vault” is merely a new file system activated by the FBI this week to make the data more accessible.
The memo details what was told to FBI agent Guy Hottel, special agent in charge of the Washington, D.C. field office, including a description of a crashed spacecraft in New Mexico.
The information in the report is connected to hoax that is some 60 years old, and it resulted in a fraud conviction.
The memo is the result of a long chain of yarn-spinning, but the root of it all was eventually revealed.
The Hottel memo echoes a story from the Wyandotte Echo, a legal publication in Kansas City, Kansas in January of 1950, which was later repeated to Guy Hottel by an Air Force investigator who read the story. That news story draws from the account of one Rudy Fick, a local used car dealer (how did I know this would eventually lead back to car dealer?).
It turns out Fick got the tale from two individuals, I.J. Van Horn and Jack Murphy, who claim they got the story from a man named “Coulter” (it was actually a radio advertising manager named George Koehler).
Are you keeping up? It gets better.
Koehler got the story from Silas Newton. The hoax all began with Newton and his accomplice, Leo Gebauer.
Newton and Gebauer were selling “doodlebugs”, mechanical devices that could supposedly find oil, gas, gold, or whatever else the stooge was interested in discovering.
In a 2003 interview for a documentary entitled The Other Side of Truth (written and directed by Paul Kimball), the late UFO researcher Karl Pflock described the original yarn that was spun that eventually would lead to the infamous Hottel memo.
In that interview, Pflock points out that the main difference between Newton and Gebauer’s story and the many other iterations that preceded it was the fact that they claimed that their “doodlebugs” were better due to the fact that theirs were based on “alien technology.”
The two men told Frank Scully, a writer for Variety, about the UFO incident. Scully later claimed in his book that Newton and Gebauer told him that military personnel had confiscated the alien spacecraft for “top secret” government research.
In the meantime, the tale of the advanced alien technology caught the attention of J.P. Cahn of the San Francisco Chronicle. Cahn eventually persuaded Newton and Gebauer to give him a sample of the “alien” metal (which turned out to be aluminum).
Cahn’s version of the alien ship hoax appeared in True magazine in 1952. This resulted in many people who had previously been scammed by Newton and Gebauer coming forward about it.
One of their victims was Herman Glader, a millionaire from Denver, Colorado who had the means at his disposal to press charges against the duo. Newton and Gebauer were convicted of fraud the following year.
The hoax appeared again back in 1986 when William Steinman and Wendelle Stevens published a book called “UFO Crash at Aztec”. Then in 1998, Linda Mouton Howe, a documentary filmmaker, claimed to have top secret government documents verifying that an alien UFO had, in fact, crash-landed in Roswell back in 1947.
Care to guess what that proof was? If you guessed it was the Hottel memo, you win.
Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of media outlets have cited the memo as “proof” of the Roswell crash, but the memo actually isn’t even connected to Roswell.
Aside from the now-obvious clues, there are other indications that something is amiss with this story. The FBI has in its possession several documents that confirm their knowledge of both Newton and Gebauer.
Furthermore, it is not plausible that an alien spacecraft would be crippled by “high-powered radar” based on the fact that regular planes can operate normally through radar, and so-called “high power” radar is not sufficient to damage even conventional electronics.
Remember, too, that radar was even less powerful back in the 1940s than it is now.
Finally, the account given in the Hottel memo doesn’t match any of those given at the time for purported UFO sightings in Roswell, New Mexico.
So yes, it was fun while it lasted…and it even had US going…but it seems that, for now at least, the elaborate tale of a cover-up at Roswell it still just a pipe dream.
- Roswell rumor offers boon day for FBI website traffic (cbsnews.com)
- FBI Releases 1950 UFO Report (geektyrant.com)
- Did the Government Believe in Roswell? (lewrockwell.com)
- Guy Hottel Document – UFO Proof? (theness.com)
- FBI’s UFO File: Proof of Roswell? (livescience.com)
- FBI files reveal exploding UFO, aliens near Roswell (rt.com)