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Roswell: The Fear of Talking About the Bodies

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If there was one thing that so many of those who knew the truth of the Roswell affair of July 1947 were frightened by, it was the matter of the bodies found at the site of the crash. The “Black Widow” (as I called her in my 2005 book, Body Snatchers in the Desert) born in 1922, had been in the employ of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s. While there, and on three occasions between May and July 1947, she saw a number of unusual-looking bodies brought to the facility – and under stringent security. They looked like regular Japanese people, she said. Others, however, displayed the signs of certain medical conditions: dwarfism, oversized heads, and bulging eyes. A few of the bodies were extensively damaged – as if they had been in violent accidents, which proved to be the case. In all, fifteen such bodies were brought to Oak Ridge under great secrecy; all of them reportedly used in certain high-altitude, balloon-based experiments in New Mexico, one of which led to the Roswell legend. Or, became a part of the legend is probably more correct. The Black Widow said: “Those bodies – the Roswell bodies – they weren’t aliens. The government could care less about those stories about alien bodies found at Roswell – except to hide the truth.” She added: “I don’t know anything at all about how these people were brought [to the United States], but I heard at Oak Ridge some of them were [in the United States] in late 1945 and brought over with Japanese doctors and Nazi doctors [who had been doing similar] experiments. That’s when some of this began.”

The story continued that at least some of the people used in the tests were American prisoners given the opportunity to cut the lengths of their sentences – if, that is, they were willing to take a chance and take part in the dicey experiments. Reportedly, a number did take the bait, but failed to survive the flights. Some of the handicapped people did not come from Japan, but from “hospitals and asylums” in the United States. All of the material evidence was said to have been eventually destroyed – chiefly because the operations didn’t provide much in the way of results, and because of the outright illegality of the experiments. Everything, the Black Widow said, was hidden beneath a mass of fabricated tales of flying saucers and little men from the stars. She doubted that anything of any significance still existed – certainly not the bodies or the balloons, and probably not even the old records, which she believed were burned to oblivion. Unless, however, some of them were preserved for secret, historical purposes, which is not impossible. I hope they were. If not, it may be nigh on impossible to conclusively prove anything about Roswell – ever.

There was one other aspect of the Black Widow’s story that needs to be addressed: her overwhelming fear. It was ever-present throughout our 2001 meeting, when she was seventy-nine. She tried to disguise that fear with smiles and laughter, but she was certainly no Oscar-winning Hollywood actor. That’s for sure. Seeing through her facade was like seeing through freshly polished glass. In Body Snatchers in the Desert I said that she “possessed the sad and somewhat sunken eyes of a person with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She was clearly looking for someone to speak with; but, equally, she was very concerned about the ramifications of doing so, ‘if the government finds out.'” In my original manuscript, I detailed why she was so scared, but that section didn’t make the cut. The reason? The publisher was highly concerned about the Black Widow’s claims to me that certain people who had got too close to the truth of Roswell, and who couldn’t keep their mouths shut, had been…murdered by the government. So the story went, certain hired assets, who regularly worked with the intelligence community on “troublesome” situations, were secretly contracted to terminate those who threatened the status quo and its dangerous secret. Interestingly, the Black Widow made a mention to me of a long-retired nurse from Roswell who had died under extremely questionable circumstances “a few years ago.”  I didn’t know it at the time, but it’s highly possible that she was referring to a woman named Miriam Bush.

Miriam was not actually a nurse, as some have incorrectly said. In 1947,she was an executive secretary at Roswell’s RAAF hospital. She worked for a medical officer, Lieutenant Colonel Harold Warne, and saw the bodies that were found on the Foster Ranch – specifically when they were brought into the confines of the hospital. They were, as nearly everyone claimed, small, damaged, and unusual-looking. This trauma-filled experience clearly affected Miriam to a huge degree. The whole thing was like an albatross around her neck. That huge, ominous bird never left her side. Miriam’s private life was a mess and she became alcoholic – as did, by the way, both Major Jesse Marcel and Dee Proctor (the latter having seen some of the bodies at the site); a sign, perhaps of the tremendous burden of hiding what they may have known. And, in the late 1980s, Miriam became fearful that she was being watched and followed. She was. Miriam Bush was found dead in a motel-room just outside of San Jose, California, in December 1989. A plastic bag was around her head and her arms were bruised and scratched. The verdict? Suicide. Yeah, really.

When the story of Miriam Bush surfaced – years after I spoke with the Black Widow, and also a couple of years after Body Snatchers in the Desert was published – my mind instantly swung back to the Black Widow’s comments relative to the highly suspicious death of a certain “nurse” from Roswell. Was it Miriam Bush? I don’t know. But, logically, it would make sense. If so, though, how did the Black Widow know this? After all, Miriam was based at Roswell, New Mexico and the Black Widow worked in Tennessee. I have no answer to that question; I wish I did. But, I do know that the Black Widow’s major concern about speaking on the record was the fear that she would finish up like the woman from Roswell; a woman who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and who paid for it with her life, years later. The story of Miriam Bush and the words of the Black Widow led me to conclude that those who saw the bodies – and who might still be in positions to reveal what they knew – were the ones who had far more to fear and lose than anyone else. After all, seeing – and even handling – the debris all those years ago wasn’t really a big cause of concern for those in government who were determined to keep the secret hidden. Accounts of odd-looking foil couldn’t prove anything conclusive. Such accounts still can’t prove anything. But, credible people attached to the military and the government and who saw the corpses – like the Black Widow and like Miriam Bush – had everything to lose. Including their lives.

Sheridan Cavitt and Lewis “Bill” Rickett knew enough to avoid discussing the angle of bodies wherever, and whenever, possible. Dee Proctor, as a young boy, had the fear of God put in him by the military – and to such an extent that he never, ever brought up the specific word: bodies. But, Miriam Bush did share her story. And something happened in late 1989 that upped the ante and led to her death. Little wonder, then, that the Black Widow also had a deep fear that’s she too would be killed. Like Miriam, she saw the bodies. There was also Dr. Lejeune Foster, who handled the bodies. She was  told that if she ever spoke out on what she knew, her life would be over. Since the bodies, or even just one of them, would be the prime piece of evidence that could prove the true nature of the Roswell event – human or extraterrestrial – it makes perfect sense that those who were in positions to reveal what they knew of the bodies would potentially be the most dangerous of all to the secret-keepers in government.

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