Who would have thought that after all these years the famed meteorite hunter and astronomer Dr. Lincoln La Paz would become any sort of controversy regarding the alleged UFO crash near Roswell in 1947? Well, that is exactly what's happened. Even though La Paz always maintained a low profile relative to the events, as long as I can remember it was always a given he was there AND part of the history. Recently, however, a number of people have come forward saying that La Paz wasn't there at all, hence he wouldn't have had any role --- and a few of them have let me know about it personally in no uncertain terms --- and fairly stringently so. Which for me is really odd in that I saw him there twice myself.
I went into the area within days of the July 1947 incident with my Uncle because he was interested in looking into what he heard was Hieroglyphic Writing on some pieces of the debris and it was La Paz, in a meeting between the two, of which I observed, who put my uncle on notice regarding the potential possibility of hieroglyphs. In August of 1945, two years before the Roswell incident, there was a similar if not parallel UFO crash not far from the small New Mexico community of San Antonio. My uncle, who witnessed the object come down became friends with La Paz because of it, which inturn led to him helping La Paz with the Roswell investigation.
It was roughly two months after the Roswell object was said to have crashed that my uncle and La Paz met again, only this time on a far more official level. As with that first meeting, I was traveling with my uncle and it was then that my Meeting Dr.La Paz occurred a second time. As it was, La Paz wasn't very high up on my radar during either meeting. Matter of fact, as far as Roswell was concerned, nothing was. With my first visit, even though I was around, sat in on, or overhead many interviews between my uncle and various people, I never took any notes or retained anything physically for posterity. The following paragraph has long shown up at the source so cited and pretty much lays out how nonchalant I was about the whole Roswell experience in those days:
"At the time I just didn't know any of it would ever mean anything. I was raised on Flash Gordon andBuck Rogers and experienced the giant UFO Over Los Angeles, so rocketships or objects from outer space or other planets just didn't seem all that unusual to me. I spent a good part of my time out in the cab of the truck reading comic books, sitting around in waiting rooms or narrow halls of places that looked like doctors offices or hospitals. Even more time was spent hanging out in dirty little rooms stuck back in the corners of hot, dusty hanger type buildings stacked to the ceiling with falling over old newspapers, out of date World War II Mil-Spec operator handbooks and training manuals, as well as grungy old coffee cups all over the place with spoons and dead bugs stuck in the bottom of thin layer of some sort of a dried-up brown, tar-like residue --- presumably it is guessed, being at onetime, coffee."(source)
It seems no matter what you do, how benign or how propitious it is, people come out of the woodwork and blah-blah this and blah-blah that about how wrong you are, that what has been presented couldn't be so because of such-and-such. However, if it is something I participated in myself and the event is still clear in my mind to have had happened, it makes it somewhat difficult for me to personally agree with someone who says that it didn't happen. Such is the case with La Paz. Most researchers and UFOlogists did not participate in any of the actual happenings related to Roswell. Some have relied on personal interviews with people who were there and searching down documents related to the incident. Others just use the efforts of those that did just that, then rehash it in their own words. The thing is, nowdays actual witnesses are getting few and far between. At one end of the scale you have Loretta Proctor born in 1914 and at the last report still alive, while at the other end, her son, William Dee Proctor, born in 1940, who was one of the youngest of the major Roswell witnesses, died in 2006. Between those two people all the major players in the Roswell incident are gone. With the civilian witnesses of the day there was no hard evidence, just the trust or non-trust in what they had to say. With the government or military witnessess there is usually some sort of back-up documentation that says what they said they said --- which in the end is no different than the trust placed in the word of the civilian witnesses --- except for one thing. When it comes to who they say they are or when or if they were at a certain place or not at a given time, there is usually a paper trail independent of any testimony they may have given.
My favorite in all of the Roswell stuff is Lieutenant Colonel Philip J. Corso and his 1997 book The Day After Roswell. By the time Corso's book came out all the major history and witnessess was thought to have been either accounted for and/or interviewed by "those in the know." Then out of the blue, Corso. Of course, those who make their living pushing their story line and their story line only, and/or shredding every little bit and piece that doesn't match their own views, didn't waste time tearing him and his work apart. Corso, now deceased, has his supporters though. In Corso's case, as well as others, there are those who have in turn, done a fairly good job of reassembling some of the shreds produced by those that shred.(see)
The thing is, there are no real actual eyeball-on eye witnessess to the Roswell incident anyway. That is to say, nobody was standing out in the field underneath the thing that night and actually see the object coming apart shedding pieces and junk all over themselves and the Foster ranch. Same with the remaining heavier object that slammed into the Capitan Mountains seconds later. Nobody actually saw it crash through the trees and plow across the gravel and rock ground-cover, with it's forward momentum only to be brought to a total standstill instantly by the more resistant boulders.
Getting back to La Paz, most of the substantiating testimony that he was a participant at least at some level in the events at Roswell comes from a onetime U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps master sergeant named Lewis "Bill" Rickett. Rickett was the non-commissioned officer in charge of the CIC office at Roswell in 1947. Since Rickett is the top dog when it comes to substantiating the whereabouts of La Paz in official Roswell lore, Rickett is the one that is targeted the most by the "La Paz wasn't there" folk. Trouble is, Rickett isn't the only person of stature to have come forward saying La Paz was there. Independent of Rickett's eyewitness testimony are at least two others, Boyd Wettlaufer and Earl L. Zimmerman.
Wettlaufer, who died in 2009, was an eminent Canadian archeologist and onetime student of LaPaz. According to Wettlaufer LaPaz discussed Roswell with him in 1950 while both were working on an archeology dig related to the ancient pit houses found along the rim of Meteor Crater.(see) Zimmerman was a radio operator stationed at Roswell in 1947 and transfered to the Office of Special Investigations at Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque in 1949 where he worked with La Paz. In a signed affidavit Zimmerman offered the following:
"During this project, which lasted for several months, I got to know Dr. LaPaz very well. When I mentioned to him I had been stationed in Roswell during 1947, he told me he had been involved in the investigation of the thing found in the Roswell area that summer. He did not discuss the case in any detail, but he did say he went out with two agents and interviewed sheepherders, ranchers, and others. They told these witnesses they were investigating an aircraft accident. I seem to recall LaPaz also saying they found an area where the surface earth had been turned a light blue and wondering if lightning could cause such an effect."(source)
UFO/Roswell skeptic Timothy Printy, whose stuff I cite on and off on occasion in my works because a lot of what he writes makes you think, in an online paper primarily about Rickett titled The joker and the Spaceship pretty much tears apart what Zimmerman has to say in his signed affidavit and passes along to his readers what has become the standard for "La Paz wasn't there" fare. Of course, Anthony Bragalia in his The UFO Iconoclast(s) turns around and tears apart Printy. For years, long before I heard or knew that there was a controversy regarding La Paz and any interaction he may or may not of had regarding the 1947 events at Roswell, I had written and presented in a variety of places versions of one kind or the other of the following that appears most recently in Frank Edwards which basically ends up with the two of them, that is, my uncle and La Paz, eventually meeting up along some deep-rutted dirt road out in the middle of nowhere:
"It had been several weeks since school was out and we left California, basically living in the backcounty, moving from site to site and camping along the way with very little contact with the outside world. In the process I had really lost track of day and date. I was, however, fast asleep in my sleeping bag somewhere in the desert near Fort Sumner on the night of, it is thought, Friday, July 4, 1947, when around midnight my uncle, who had been sitting up pondering the stars and possibly his insignificance in the overall scheme of things, through a smattering of clouds, saw a brilliant meteor-like object streak across the night sky arcing downward to the Earth toward a fast moving lightning infested stormy horizon, all the while dissipating a string of quickly extinguishing small glowing hunks or particles dropping in it's wake. Thinking it was a meteor and thinking his friend La Paz might be interested in a fresh strike, my uncle began an effort to contact him. In that it was long before the days of cell phones it took a couple of days for the two of them to connect. La Paz informed my uncle that from all indications whatever he saw streak across the sky that night it was NOT a meteor nor a known aircraft of some type --- but whatever it was, after talking with La Paz my uncle was chaffing at the bit to go to the suspected impact site and see for himself if there was any truth behind the so called hieroglyphic writing La Paz heard rumors of as being on some of the metal scraps."
Now, whether people like it or not, most of La Paz's movements during the specific day-date-time reference needed to substantiate such a scenario as I have presented above can be tracked by just using generally known information available to anybody. Matter of fact, one person, noted UFO researcher, sometimes advocate, sometimes skeptic, Brad Sparks, has already gone to the trouble of doing just that --- and not necessarily for the reasons I am presenting them, albeit his facts and questions fit almost exactly perfect into my thesis of when and where La Paz was at the time --- and WHY he was there. Sparks writes:
We know where LaPaz was at 4:47 in the afternoon of Thursday, July 10, 1947, two days after the Roswell story burst into the world news: He was driving on a road or highway north of Corona, a long way from home in Albuquerque! He said he and his family were driving from Clovis to Clines Corners when they sighted a Daylight Disc UFO - not a green fireball at night, but a real honest-to-goodness UFO, high speed and highly maneuverable. He doesn't say what highways or roads or possible detours he might have taken along the way from Clovis to Clines Corners and strangely omits giving his actual location at the time of the sighting which is extremely bizarre for the careful scientist LaPaz was --- it suggests he was unwilling to reveal his exact location for some reason. It's the only defect in an otherwise scientifically precise, airtight UFO case, one of the best cases of all time. No explanation what they were doing in Clovis in the middle of the week 6 days after the 4th of July holiday --- just the one word "vacationing" would suffice but it's not mentioned.
News reports place LaPaz in Oklahoma when the Roswell story broke on July 8, as he was traveling around doing meteorite hunting. The main highway leading from Oklahoma directly to LaPaz's home in Albuquerque was almost a straight line running east-west (look on a map) in 1947 and this was the famous Route 66. But Clovis was way off Route 66 to the south. Why did LaPaz detour to Clovis from a straightline back home with a car packed with wife and kids?
Why did LaPaz pick these two towns, Clovis and Clines Corners, over 150 road miles apart instead of specifying his actual location at the sighting, just the name of one town and his distance? Why didn't he take the most direct route back to Route 66 from Clovis, which would be to go through Ft. Sumner then rejoin Route 66 near Santa Rosa --- a full 50 miles before he would have gotten to Clines Corners? In that case he would have said he was driving from Clovis to Santa Rosa, not Clovis to Clines Corners.
Why on earth did LaPaz take this 100-mile detour in the first place, going straight southwest apparently from Amarillo, Tex., directly into Clovis, N.M., from Route 66? Another 100 miles or so in the same southwest direction on a straight-line road, Hwy 70, takes you from Clovis directly into ROSWELL. Here seems to be the reason for choosing Clovis: By going through Clovis he would save almost 80 miles of travel to get to Roswell, instead of continuing on Route 66 then going directly south from a turnoff near Santa Rosa.
If LaPaz had indeed taken a detour to Roswell then Hwy 285 takes him most conveniently back to Route 66 and the junction would then have to be Clines Corners rather than Santa Rosa (once again saving nearly 50 miles' travel this time). This is the most direct Roswell detour route off of Route 66, and Clovis and Clines Corners are the most logical New Mexico takeoff points for a Roswell detour, saving more than 120 miles total. Had LaPaz said he was driving from a place in Texas (Amarillo) to a place in New Mexico (Clines Corners) it might have drawn attention to the fact that he was obviously withholding the exact location for some reason.
And Hwy 285 of course is the road one has to take to get to the Brazel debris field, and it's the scene of reported military roadblocks.
It is possible that LaPaz belatedly used a family vacation trip and meteorite hunt as a cover for Roswell-related interviewing --- clearly he took his family along for meteorite hunting at least (what kind of "vacation" [my word] could that be anyway, taking a entire family of four out into the Texas Panhandle in the blistering heat of July?). LaPaz might have decided to contact the military while on this trip to Oklahoma on unrelated business and offer his assistance, after he was contacted by reporters about the flying discs sightings in the news. Maybe a detour to Roswell was suggested to him. Maybe he suggested it.
Or LaPaz might have been brought in by the military initially without a thought of trajectories but merely to canvass neighboring communities to find out how much eyewitnesses may have seen since he was known to be good at doing that (and might be less obtrusive than stiff-necked GI's who would scare people and attract too much attention, whereas LaPaz was reportedly quite accustomed to giving out cover stories, such as "investigating an aircraft accident," or perhaps a "meteorite hunt"). LaPaz may have then been the one to suggest to the military that if he could get sufficient witness data to determine a velocity and a direction (radiant) he might be able to project a trajectory out into space. Either way.
Sure, this isn't proof that LaPaz went to Roswell but his odd statement giving a 150-mile Clovis-Clines Corners route instead of giving his exact sighting location on July 10, 1947, is unaccountable for this meticulously detailed scientist, very suspicious, and fits the logical travel route for a detour to Roswell that is concealed between the Clovis-Clines Corners place names --- and he certainly had to pass close to Corona by any interpretation. The fact he kept this daylight UFO sighting so private for so long, never bringing it up in the course of his green fireball investigations and reports about which he was so outspoken --- in contrast to his silence about the UFO which was revealed only reluctantly and anonymously --- is indicative of hiding something more than just a sighting.
In the above, Sparks, in the series of questions he asks, one goes like: "(La Paz) doesn't say what highways or roads or possible detours he might have taken along the way from Clovis to Clines Corners and strangely omits giving his actual location at the time of the sighting which is extremely bizarre for the careful scientist LaPaz was --- it suggests he was unwilling to reveal his exact location for some reason." It should be noted since Sparks wrote the above it has been brought to his attention and become general knowledge as well that La Paz's July 10, 1947, sighting has been narrowed down from being "between Clovis to Clines Corners" to that of Fort Sumner as the location for the sighting.(see) Either way, all the questions and especially Sparks comment that La Paz was unwilling to reveal his exact location for some reason can easily be resolved by taking into consideration the insertion of the meeting between La Paz and my uncle --- especially Sparks' comment, "Maybe a detour to Roswell was suggested to him." It is almost as though Sparks had some inside, yet somehow what he considered tenuous information as to meeting. Again, go back to Frank Edwards.
UFO OVER L.A.
THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES
AND SIMILAR INCIDENTS UPDATED
As far as taking any notes or retaining anything physically for posterity relative to the Roswell crash-down, even though I say that I, as a nearly ten year old boy, "just didn't know any of it would ever mean anything," I wasn't the only one --- it was in fact, a large part of the prevailing view of the day. Take for example what is presented in the following paragraph found in the Tommy Tyree link below:
"(I)n August of 1947, one month after the crash and long after the military folk left, Tyree and Brazel spotted a piece of wreckage in the water at the bottom of a sinkhole and that neither tried to retrieve it. Now, all you hear about is how the military scoured every square millimeter of the debris field picking up pieces of the alleged saucer. Although I am not in agreement with it, it has even been reported that houses were searched, floors torn up, and people intimidated by authorities searching for more pieces. Yet, here is a piece sitting in plain sight in a sinkhole a month after the crash, apparently overlooked --- that Tyree or Brazel wouldn't even get off their horses to retrieve."
The closest I came to retaining anything, without getting into the logistics behind it all here, but made clear in Tommy Tyree and elsewhere, while staying at the the location I call the hay shelter on the hill above and behind the debris field, with nothing to do but remain hidden all day, to entertain myself I made and buried a "time capsule" thinking I would come back one day in the future and dig it up.
In those days, traveling in the desert I carried a G.I. canteen attached to a pistol belt along with a "Carlisle" first aid pouch in of which I carried all kinds of stuff. Stainless steel pocket knife with a fold-out fork and spoon. Compass. Waterproof matches. When I was at the debris field it was years before any of the handheld electronic gizzmos we have today, so to entertain myself I carried a toy red-and-black plastic-bakelite film strip viewer, along with a few extra filmstrips, with me. My uncle told me one time if the Earth ever blew-up and formed an asteroid belt around the sun like the one between Mars and Jupiter some far-in-the-future space explorer would still be able to find pieces of plastic imbeded in the rock-chunks --- because plastic junk lasts forever. Well, I didn't want to part with my pocketknife, compass or matches, so for my time capsule I buried the plastic film viewer. With that I took a gas station paper towel I had in my back pocket and using my most favored gift from my Stepmother, a Reynolds Rocket ballpoint pen that could write underwater or out in space --- which I wish I still had --- and made a treasure map.
As the years passed I forgot all about it. One day I was moving stuff and ran across my pebble grained faux-leather high school graduation certificate holder. Inside was my diploma along with the treasure map I drew for my time capsule.
The next time I saw my uncle in Santa Fe I took the map along. When I showed it to him and expressed the possibility of the two of us going to look for it he put his hand out in an open-palm "halt" fashion and told me to wait. A few minutes later he was opening a cardboard box he had pulled from the attic and started rummaging around in it. He pulled out a bag and dumped the contents on the table. There in front of me was what was left of a broken to pieces red-and-black plastic film strip viewer. My uncle told me right after meeting with Frank Edwards, about ten years or so after we had been to the debris field, he went back. He walked the old debris field as well as the hill we had observed from. He also tried to find the hay shelter and water trough, but to no avail. Walking the area where he thought it should be he spotted pieces of red plastic in the dirt. Looking more carefully he was eventually able to find most of the viewer, including parts of the film strip. Apparently what happened, and it was just speculation on my uncle's part for the lack or any other explanation, it looked like a disc harrow may have been pulled through the area and one of the discs must have ran right over where I had buried the viewer, scattering it into pieces along a straight line over several feet.
My idea to make a time capsule did not spring from whole cloth, by the way. Somehow I got the idea from my uncle, mimicking his actions. That is, somewhere near or around where we were, my uncle made his own time capsule, burying something OR some-things, pieces and parts he found out out on the debris field. I have reason to guess that was the case because there would be no need to bury anything he already had with him that would be worth leaving then come back for. Apparently that is just what he did, come back for whatever he buried. Other than the fact that he showed me he had pieces of my film viewer that he came across in the hills up and beyond the debris field years after the crash I would never have known he went back. According to the suggestion proffered in The Roswell Ray Gun all indications are that the something buried recovered from the Roswell debris field in 1947 turned out to be a device similar to a hand-held pistol, albeit said by some from an advanced alien culture.
About Dee Proctor. William D. "Dee" Proctor died of a heart attack on January 22, 2006. He was the youngest participant in the Roswell series of events, and managed to avoid every attempt at being interviewed, ending up being the only known first-hand witness at the Roswell crash site who never spoke publicly about the incident. However, many years following the crash-down, said to be sometime in 1994, his mother Loretta Proctor, then somewhere around or nearing her 80s or so, became extremely ill with a life-threatening blood clot in her neck. Her son, said by many to be highly reclusive, took her --- even though she was quite sick --- for the first time ever to a remote location 2.5 miles east-southeast overlooking the whole of the old debris field. There he told his mother, which she has since reported back, that Mac Brazel had found "something else." Loretta Proctor eventually recovered from her illness, but has never elaborated on what that "something else" was. The question now is IF William D. "Dee" Proctor was NOT with Brazel that morning, what was it that he knew so much about PERSONALLY that would impel him to risk the health of his own mother to embark on such a trek? To tell her about a mere weather balloon and a few scraps of tinfoil or string that had already been reported hardly seems enough. Loretta Proctor, who previously had always been fairly open regarding the Roswell Incident, will now not volunteer anything. Dee Proctor, as always had been the case, remained quiet on the issues right up till his death.(source)
During a road trip across Arizona and New Mexico my uncle and I stopped at Fort Sumner to see Billy the Kid's gravesite. That night, without even making a fire, we curled up in our sleeping bags on the desert floor under the stars. After breaking camp close to daybreak, without being aware of the Roswell incident and yet to connect with with La Paz, as we were about to turn onto a main highway from some side road not far from Fort Sumner we were stopped by a military convoy. Fort Sumner, located on Route 60 about 55 miles east of Vaughn, New Mexico, although not connected directly by main roads to the little town of Ramon, is less than 40 miles northeast of there. Ramon is the same place in Roswell lore that the 14 year old William M. Woody and then later as an adult, reported he and his father decided to turn around and go back from because of all of the side roads were blocked by armed military personnel all the way from Roswell.
The convoy itself was headed north or northeast and composed of several flatbed trucks carrying large crates, some covered with tarps some not, escorted by jeeps and followed in the rear by a huge tow truck. My uncle made his turn and eventually caught and passed the convoy, continuing on our trip without incident. However, the event was highly memorable for me as a nearly ten year old boy. I had witnessed the Hughes flying boat being moved in a similar fashion and just the sight of all the army trucks trundling along out in the middle of the desert was exciting, but passing them, smelling the diesel, hearing all the noise, seeing all the wheels, and having the drivers salute or give a wave going by was unforgetable. I did overhear my uncle mention some time later, which meant nothing to me at the time, that he thought it was highly unusual that all the unit designations on the bumpers had been blanked out or painted over. The point is that the convoy we witnessed outside Fort Sumner and headed toward Kansas was almost an exact duplicate of the convoy as described by Lt. Col. Philip J. Corso in his 1997 book as arriving at Fort Riley, Kansas sometime in the afternoon of Sunday, July 6, 1947. In regards to the convoy, even though William M. Woody and his dad had been on the road between Roswell and Ramon on the same afternoon, nowhere has it been reported that they saw any sort of a military convoy --- the implication being that for the convoy to have arrived in Kansas in the afternoon it had to leave New Mexico during the night or fairly early on that day. Brazel was on the exact same road during the early morning hours the Williams' were and he never reported seeing any sort of a convoy. Whatever was being transported in all those crates and under the tarps sighted outside Fort Sumner most likely came from the site stumbled upon by one of the so-called Roswell Archaeologists, William Curry Holden, in the Capitan Mountains rather than anything from the Brazel debris field. The convoy must have headed northeast on Highway 54 out of the Capitan Mountains to Vaughn then cut across New Mexico east toward Kansas on 60 through Fort Sumner.
There is a potential possibility that one person came very, very close, a man by the name of William Lawrence Campbell. For as long as anybody knew him, Campbell would tell anybody who would listen a tale of being "out there when the spaceship came down" and seeing a "round object but not real big" --- with the remarkable part being that he told the story LONG before almost anybody had ever heard of Roswell.
Campbell, who was known by some as Cactus Jack, was in those days, usually thought of behind his back as not much more than a desert-rat come gadfly. Now, however, he is most often given credit as being one of the two suspected archaeologists along with William Curry Holden usually associated with the Roswell event. Initially, when he came upon the scene, besides desert-rat and gadfly, he had been tagged with a certain "pothunter" image --- an image he was eventually able to shake off on his way to becoming considered more respectable. As he was able to establish himself with more and more credibility, what he had to say about what he saw out on the plains the night of the crash, the more people began to take him more seriously. The following, from the Campbell link cited above, pretty much sums it up:
"Campbell said he was 'out there when the spaceship came down,' meaning, according to his account, well before Roswell became part of the popular culture or very high up in UFO lore. If he did not actually see the object plow into the ground per se', he did at least see a round, disc-like object apparently made of metal go directly over his head at a very low altitude and at a fairly high rate of speed just seconds before it smashed into the mountains."