A new look at some old ROSWELL photos

The information contained at the beginning of this page was compiled by British researcher Neil Morris, and is available directly from his web page.

It is being duplicated here to allow for quicker access, and his effort in putting this together is greatly appreciated.

As he has noted in his text, these images are NOT the high resolution images currently on display (and available from) the University of Texas at Arlington (U-of-T). But the issues recently raised by Johnson caused a re-examination of the low resolution images that were available in Great Britian. As a result of that re-examination, this report was developed.

The image information from Neil's site is followed by a Press Release issued by J. Bond Johnson on June 15th and other commentary that has been compiled from various sources.

The Fort Worth Debris Photo's of James Bond Johnson

James Bond Johnson was a rookie reporter/photographer for the Fort Worth Star newspaper when, back one afternoon in July 1947, he was sent to the office of General Ramey at the local air base to photograph what was said to be a recovered "Flying Disk". Johnson maintains that what he photographed WAS part of the actual debris and further he says he helped unpack some for the packages that Jesse Marcel Snr had brought with him from the Roswell AAF. Most researchers have looked at these photos and dismissed them as nothing more than Gen Ramey's cover story "weather balloon" debris and, on first observation I too thought that, untill I obtained from James Bond Johnson a partial scan, all be it, at low resolution, of one of these photographs, and started to have a "close" look at some of the debris. It was at that point that my idea's of "tinfoil" and "balsa wood" sticks began to be seriously challenged. Then I found what I believe to be symbols.

As, at this time, I only have access to a single low resolution scan of part of one of these pictures I would like anyone who has a detailed print of this picture, usually known as the "Marcel looking Right" shot, to check out on your print and if possible verify my findings.

Neil Morris 16th June 1998.
Email Neil@adm1.ph.man.ac.uk

To download the full image click on the thumbnail image.


This is the original image supplied by JBJ, it's just a small portion of the bottom left corner of the "marcel looking right" picture as shown in R+S's UFO C @ R, a point here, the picture in the book seems to have been cropped of some of the foreground, it's well out of focus anyway.


The char on the right's had a bit of processing and you can make out quite well an "E" type char similar to the chars from the AA film, inset above. (at the time I hadn't noticed the regular circular pattern further down the "beam") The chars on the right of the picture, I don't know how anyone ever missed these, guess nobody ever looked close enough, but they sure look like symbols to me and should be much clearer in a better scan, same goes for the first set.


This is a big pic but in it I've tied to pull out what might actually be 3 symbols on the mangled beam, similar symbols all appear in the AA debris footage. If this is the case I can see only 1 scenario, it vindicates the debris footage as real and in that case places a great deal of weight behind the AA footage being the real monty!.

That is:

IF these symbols ARE on the 1947 certified negs.?

Some joker could be playing games but I feel it would be extreamly difficult to place these symbols where they are, particularly the AA type ones, by computer enhancement. Even in the 60dpi pint from JBJ they "feel" right.

No, if they are on the original negs it opens up a whole new can of worms.

While I'm rambling on, you might also notice browsing through the picture that on many of the pieces of debris, because of the way they are bent and twisted you can see BOTH sides. A great point was made by many that the radar reflectors of the alledged weather balloon were "paper" backed foil, I SEE NO PAPER BACKING on many of these samples!, just shiny foil both sides.

After starting out on this little project thinking the debris on the floor WAS a weather balloon the more I look at these pics in detail the more I'm starting to think it's NOT. Or at least what we might have is some of the real stuff together with the waiting cover story.

Best Regards Neil.

On June 15th James Bond Johnson issued a Press Release regarding the photographs in question:

Press Release
Not for publication
Prior to June 15, 1998
Jesse Marcel, Jr. Sees Again the Symbols From the Roswell "Flying Saucer" Crash

By James Bond Johnson

It had been a long time since Dr. Jesse A. Marcel, Jr., had seen these very special symbols... more than a half century! Now he was seeing them remarkably being painted across his computer screen as he sat in his home in Helena, Montana, where he is a physician at the Veterans Affairs Hospital. These symbols are connected to the most famous "flying saucer" incident in world history -- the Roswell, New Mexico, crash of 1947.

He had been an 11-year-old boy that night in July, 1947, when his father, Major Jesse A Marcel, Sr., rushed into their home in the middle of the night and waked young Jesse from a deep sleep. The father had just gathered up these pieces of debris from a ranch near Roswell and was taking them to show to his commanding officer at the Roswell Air Base where Major Marcel was the base intelligence officer. But first he wanted his son to see these exciting and unique pieces of a strange craft which had crashed near Roswell.

And young Jesse, in examining the pieces spread out on their family's kitchen floor noticed that there were unusual markings on some of the beams -- symbols, kind of like ancient Egypt writing. "Hieroglyphics", the teacher at school had called them.

Now, nearly 51 years later, Jesse recalled that night with remarkable clarity. "I may not remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, but the events of 50 years ago are as clear as crystal" Jesse said in recalling that night. It was like no other night in his life. "I even remember the telephone number at our Roswell address so I do have a quirky memory which sometimes gets me into trouble with the skeptics because they say it isn't possible for me to remember the details that I do," Jesse added.

The symbols, described by many as the "fishhook", the "shark fin" and the "Ankh" and some others were back to remind him of that special night. Over the years Jesse had been asked to describe the symbols and he had sketched them for publication in books on UFOs.

But now, thanks to high tech digital enlargement techniques, these symbols had been discovered on pieces of the debris shown with his dad in the 8th Air Force headquarters offices of Brig. General Roger Ramey in Fort Worth, Texas.

Major Marcel was photographed along with General Ramey and Ramey's chief of staff, Colonel Thomas J. Dubose, all examining the wreckage which had been brought to Fort Worth by Major Marcel.

The story of that Roswell crash has been told and retold so many times... and with so many conflicting details... in dozens of books and articles, a movie and several television shows over the years. But one thing always has been clear in the mind of Jesse Marcel, Jr. -- the symbols on the pieces of wreckage.

"I am sure that some of the material in the photos is the real stuff -- maybe it all is", Jesse said as he looked closely at details of the greatly enlarged photo displayed on his computer screen. Then he added: "My dad did say however that the reporters saw only a small portion of the debris. Maybe he was trying to throw people off the track because General Ramey was supposed to handle it."

Or maybe it was because most of the debris had been left behind on the B-29 bomber which had brought Major Marcel on an urgent courier mission from Roswell with the puzzling cargo. It was General Ramey who had ordered the flight so that he could personally examine the wreckage of the "flying saucer", which had been "captured", as the official Army Air Forces press release described it.

Perhaps Major Marcel was concerned about soiling the nice new carpet in the general's office and chose just a few parcels of the debris to display on the floor in the general's office. It was just a quick stopover in Fort Worth as the "saucer" was being taken on to the AAF test center at Wright Field (now Wright Patterson Air Force Base) for testing.

All the facts now can never be known. Nearly all federal government records relating to the Roswell Incident apparently now have been "sanitized" -- bureaucrateze for "destroyed" -- for reasons never explained by the government. A recent national survey showed that since the government has offered four widely different "official" versions of just what did happen near Roswell in 1947, 91 per cent of American citizens now believe the government has engaged in a "cover up".

Meanwhile, Dr. Marcel, veteran of Pacific military combat and now proudly retired in the rank of full colonel after a total of 38 years active and National Guard service as a helicopter pilot and flight surgeon, turned back to his computer screen to scan the debris photo even more closely.

The symbol that he remembers best was a figure of a truncated pyramid with a ball floating over it. "I remember it best because it resembled a seal balancing a ball on its nose", he said. Maybe he will find it somewhere in those pictures where it has been hiding for 51 years.

Dr. Jesse Marcel has been contacted by numerous researchers in relation to this latest twist in the Roswell tale, and Michael Lindemann issued a response:

From: Michael Lindemann
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 10:21:22 EDT
Subject: Re:  Jesse Marcel, Jr., Sees Again Symbols From
The Roswell "FlyingSaucer"Crash

I've told James Bond Johnson in no uncertain terms that this story of his is plain wrong. It's misleading at least, deceptive at worst. Jesse Marcel has emphatically denied seeing anything in the photos except weather balloon material. I've been in repeated touch with Marcel over the last couple of days and I have his written statement.

Marcel specifically does not see anything like the symbols he remembers seeing back in 1947. It is very disappointing that Johnson has, in effect, put words in Marcel's mouth.

Johnson must retract his story.

Pass this around.

Michael Lindemann

Initial FUFOR Reaction

Chairman Don Berliner of the Fund for UFO Research has obtained enlargements of the photographs being made available by U-of-T and has indicated that several Board members have examined them and were unable to find the "symbols" described recently by Johnson. He expressed greater concern that the so-called I-beams mentioned by Dr. Jesse Marcel, Jr. are no where to be found. The "sticks" that are visible in the photograph are consistent with glue strengthened balsa wood struts that were used in radar targets of that time period. Berliner said discoloration on one of the "sticks" gives the appearance of what might be described as "symbols" such as those described by Marcel. But, the image quality does not allow for a clear examination of them and they really appear to be little more than discoloration. FUFOR continues to examine the photographs. The actual FUFOR statement on this matter can be found in the Late Breaking News section of the FUFOR web site.

And there are those who would suggest that this is all part of a big "game" being played out:

The Wit and Wisdom of J. Bond Johnson

R. J. Durant

Ufologists tend to be deadly grim people, sour, dour, never cracking a smile. At first blush that would seem odd, because there is plenty of UFO-related humor out there. Much of it appears in the newspaper accounts of sightings, where reporters who can't find an outlet for their creativity in stories about dog shows or zoning meetings can let loose a barrage of witticisms about "the silly season." After a while it gets boring if you happen to care about the topic, and of course as a serious student of UFOs you are either directly or tangentially the butt of the joke. So the ufologists don't grin.

One unfortunate result of this mind-set is that we fail to identify the truly creative ufological jokester on the rare occasions when he appears in our midst. This is the case with the humorist J. Bond Johnson. Even his name is funny, the J. standing for James. Remember 007?

He's pushing 80, and after a very full life, he finds himself sitting around worrying that the world has forgotten him and all his accomplishments. Senility is not the only deficit brought about by age. One also loses the companions of yesteryear who would listen to the stories, and laugh and laugh, sharing the mirth. So J. Bond has done the natural thing, which is to seek another audience for his exceptional wit.

In 1947 J. Bond was working at the Fort Worth, Texas Star-Telegram as a photographer and reporter. One day he was sent to the office of Brigadier General Roger Ramey to photograph some material thought to be a "flying disk." A previous press release from the Roswell Army Air Field had proclaimed the capture of same, causing an uproar. Johnson arrived, Speed Graphic in hand, took the photos and delivered them to the newspaper. That was all he did, or at least that is the sum and substance of what he told Kevin Randle during three hours of taped telephone conversations 42 years after the event.

Along with a great mass of other photographic material, the original Ramey office pictures were donated by the newspaper to the University of Texas, which maintains a huge photo archive. The University has supplied prints to anyone willing to pay the nominal copying fee. In this way Roswell researchers and even the U.S. Air Force, and through them the CIA, got these famous shots, and were able to study them with care.

J. Bond's first foray into ufological leg-pulling came about when he teamed up with another jokester, William Moore. That's the fellow who stood up at a MUFON symposium and admitted -- or claimed -- that for many years he had been cooperating with government agencies to furnish them with UFO data and to help spread disinformation. Moore has written much on Roswell, and in a refreshingly open self- assessment of his book he said it is "...a disgraceful hodgepodge of fact and fiction."

Moore and J. Bond teamed up, which is not surprising, given their mutual merry- making interests and proclivities. For years the two proclaimed that the Ramey office photos showed the "real" debris, meaning the material found on the Foster ranch, and described in detail by various awed witnesses.

The literal-minded ufologists did not get the hint, missed the nudge and the wink. They studied and studied those photos. So did the Air Force, when it undertook to review the Roswell matter, even enlisting the photographic analysis facilities of the CIA for the purpose. But the photos show only a battered radar reflector. Always have, and always will, because that -- and that alone -- is what was on Ramey's floor. Even J. Bond eventually conceded, but only after much smoke had been blown in many eyes. (Moore has long since dropped from sight.)

Now suddenly, after a long absence from the scene, J. Bond has returned to pull more legs, yank more chains. This time he has no partner, just the Internet. He composed a "press release," written as if it issued from some neutral reporter, and in this way sprung his latest joke. The major claim is the old one, slightly amended: the photos are of a radar reflector, but in the foreground, thus unnoticed by myriad observers, is some of the "real" debris.

J. Bond's "press release" begins this way: "It has been announced by the University of Texas at Arlington that on June 1, 1998, a special exhibit will open in the Special Collections Section of the Main Library featuring super-enlargements of the more than half-century old famous Roswell UFO crash photographs. In making the announcement, Dr. Gerald D. Saxon, Associate Director for Special Collections, Branch Libraries and Programs, University Libraries, stated that the special exhibit will be offered in response to an unprecedented demand by the public to view at close range details of the newly enhanced photographs of the most famous and controversial UFO wreckage, which was 'captured' by Unites States military forces near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947."

"Dr. Saxon stated that photographic exhibits at the library usually are scheduled at least two years in advance, but that this special photo exhibit has been arranged on very short notice due to world wide attention once again being focused on the UTA Library following a recent announcement that it has finally been established that the photos are of portions of the actual crash debris."

Of course, the "recent announcement" also emanated from the smoking word processor of J. Bond Johnson, but the reader is cleverly steered away from that fact.

A call to the UTA Library revealed that yes, they have received many calls about the photos subsequent to J. Bond's "recent announcement." Yes, they are making the photos available to walk-through visitors. Contrary to J. Bond's breathless claims, the UTA "special exhibit" consists only of the four Ramey office photos in 16 by 20 inch format, the largest they make. These are under plastic and laid out on a table. No special security precautions are being taken, simply because none are required.

The Library hasn't a clue about what J. Bond means by "super-enlargements." Nor do they know what he is talking about when he claims the pictures show "portions of the actual crash debris." They are concerned that their public service function is being turned into a circus. It appears that the librarians are just another group that has missed the point of J. Bond's humor.

Elsewhere, J. Bond has claimed that when the Air Force studied the Roswell issue in 1994, they engaged in a hot dispute with the UTA Library over the photos, apparently demanding that the originals be transferred to the U.S. government. I asked the Library to comment on this claim, and received the following reply from Dr. Saxon.

"Jane Klazura, a staff member in the Special Collections Division of the UT- Arlington Libraries, forwarded me your undated letter re the Roswell negatives/photos held by UTA. I wanted to answer your questions so that there is no mistake as to what we have done in the past with the negatives/photos. "You mention in your letter that Mr. Johnson has said that an agency of the U.S. government engaged in a "dispute" with UTA re these photos. That simply is not true. There was no dispute. A few years ago the Air Force wanted to analyze the Roswell negatives, and we provided high quality copy negatives for them to use. As a matter of policy and archival practice, we do not send out original negatives to anyone or any institution. The Air force was pleased with the quality of the copy negatives and used them in their analysis and subsequent report.

"For your information I am speaking from firsthand knowledge of this because I was in charge of Special Collections at the time. Our staff member in charge of the Star- Telegram Photograph Collection at the time, Betsey Hudon, has since retired. The Roswell negatives/photos are a part of the Star-Telegram Collection, which has close to one million images in it."

One would suppose that J. Bond would tell us just a bit more about the means by which the photos have recently been magnified or enhanced, revealing the "real" debris that all others have failed to spot. Despite repeated requests for elucidation on this vital point, his responses have been extremely obscure. Michael Lindemann interviewed him, and wrote that the process consisted of using a xerox machine to "blow up" the photos in many steps!

Lindemann didn't catch on, and I suppose that out of desperation to get a rise out of the ufologists, J. Bond came up with what he thought would be the unmistakeable give-away. He started saying that the "enhancement" work was done at Staples, an office supply chain. According to this version, Staples provides a service in which a photo or document is "digitized" and transferred to a computer disc. The "digitized" image can then be magnified almost infinitely. Professionals familiar with image enhancement know how ridiculous all this is.

But once again, we failed to take the hint -- when J. Bond said he did it at Staples, that should have been the occasion for a big belly laugh, not the intense furrowing of brows that afflicted the hopelessly literal ufologists.

I paid the U of T 24 dollars each for the seven photos they offer, in the 16 by 20 inch format. Once again, the joke is on me. A careful examination with a magnifying glass revealed none of the exotic stuff J. Bond talks about.

Then a friend has used some sort of (real, not Staples) computer enhancement to magnify the photos about sixty-fold. Still nothing. My friend, who is in touch with J. Bond, has passed the bad news on. J. Bond, ever the jokester, replied by angrily claiming that my friend must be blind.

R. J. Durant
10 June 98

When actual enhancements of the U-of-T photos become available, they'll be scanned and included here. But until then, we will all have to examine the images we have and develop our own conclusions accordingly.