The Roswell Slides: Case Closed, and Lessons Learned

Well, we have certainly had an interesting turn of events in this entire “Roswell Slides” affair: in fact, I think it’s fair to call it a conclusion at this point.

After much speculation about origins of the “body” seen in the photo (which, as many have argued for some time now, had appeared to be blurry image of a mummy on display in a museum), the mummy, and it’s origins, have now been determined.

Late last night, Race Hobbs brought to my attention that the owners of the images had posted an unusual claim at the Slidebox Media site, which features the newly-released images of the purported “Roswell Slides”. They argue that an independent analysis, performed by French researcher Nab Lator in cooperation with a team of researchers called the “Roswell Slides Research Group”, was Photoshopped.

I think I can say with certainty that that is not the case, as we’ll see in a moment.

The Roswell Slides Research Group is a team that includes Paul Kimball, Chris Rutkowski, the aforementioned French skeptic Nab Lator, and a number of other researchers who were willing to apply proper analysis of the images, if they could only be made available for public viewing. It appears now, thanks to Lator’s analysis, that the newly enhanced photo allows portions of the lettering on the placard in front of the mummy to be read with ease.

Using the commercially available de-blurring image editing software SmartDeblur, the team created an enhanced (and slightly contrast-adjusted) image of the card resting by the mummy’s right leg. With the new clarity the image offers, the lettering reads, “Mummified Body of Two Year Old Boy,” followed by a brief description which is barely decipherable. According to the group’s interpretation, it may read as follows: 

MUMMIFIED BODY OF TWO YEAR OLD BOY
At the time of burial the body was clothed in a xxx-xxx cotton
shirt. Burial wrappings consisted of these small cotton blankets.
Loaned by the MR. Xxxxxx, San Francisco, California

As mentioned earlier in this post, the owners of the photos are claiming this “enhanced” form of the image was Photoshopped. However, researcher Frank Warren blogged about a similar analysis here, and the Above Top Secret forums featured an entire thread on the subject (authored by Isaac Koi, one of the Roswell Slide Research Group members). So despite the claims of being Photoshopped, it seems that anyone with access to commercial de-blurring editing software can see for themselves what the placard reads.

Which brings to mind the first of several burning questions: How could the promoters of the so-called “Roswell Slides” have overlooked this, with months and months of time they could have spent carrying out their own simple, highly inexpensive analysis in this way?

Based on the available text above, I was very easily able to find a match for the mummy, as well as information about it’s origins. The following excerpt describes a mummy that is remarkably similar to what we appear to be looking at here in the purported “Roswell” photos, as featured many decades ago in Mesa Verde Notes in the September 1938 issue, Volume VIII, Number 1, which can be read online here:

“A splendid mummy was received by the Park Museum recently when Mr. S.L. Palmer Jr. of San Francisco returned one that his father had taken from the ruins in 1894. The mummy is that of a two year old boy and is in an excellent state of preservation. At the time of burial the body was clad in a slip-over cotton shirt and three small cotton blankets. Fragments of these are still on the mummy.”

Note, here, the name “S.L. Palmer Jr. of San Francisco.” Does it look familiar?

The initials, as well as the six-letter last name (Palmer), appear to match the mostly-indecipherable name on the card, which Nab Lator and others have used imaging software to enhance. In fact, looking at the name, it seems quite clear that the name reads “S.L. Palmer,” with the “L” and the letter “P” in the last name most apparent of all.

Have a look at the two enhanced versions below:

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 7.54.23 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 7.54.36 PM

Indeed, I think we’ve found our mummy.

Which, of course, brings to mind the ethical considerations about the entire thing; rather than an “alien body,” we now know, without a doubt, that this had been a child’s body that was retrieved from ruins (likely the Cliff Palace site) at Mesa Verde National Park. Hence, the remains in question are also Native American, rather than that of an alien body recovered from a rumored “crash” at Roswell, New Mexico.

Believing that I may have been the first to come across this historical information about the case, I ran the info above by Paul Kimball earlier today, who I had been corresponding with throughout the early afternoon. Paul noted that the evidence for the origins of the “mystery mummy” had indeed already been blogged about yesterday… by Anthony Bragalia who, interestingly, had once championed the slides. By the time I was able to get over to the UFO Conjecture(s) blog to read his post, the article appeared to have been removed (?). Strange though this may be, the piece had been copied already by the alternative news aggregator Before It’s News, where I was able to read Bragalia’s response.

What he had to say seems sincere indeed, and if anything, a number of important points were raised in his summary of things:

“I have learned much about myself and things that I need to change in order to become a better researcher. I must be less trusting, more discerning and less accusatory of those with whom I disagree.

But more than this, I must offer my sincerest and deepest apologies to the Native American people of the Southwestern United States. One of their children, a dead child from well over a century ago, was made a spectacle. Whoever you are, you deserve to be extended dignity and respect. Your people, the Ancestral Puebloans, honored you by preserving you. I played part in disturbing your eternal rest, and for that I am so very sorry. Though I did not seek nor receive any money from any of this saga, and though my efforts were sincere and my offense unintentional, I am making a substantial donation to an American Indian children’s charity and encourage everyone else who played part to do the same.”

As I mentioned earlier in a related post, maybe the “Roswell Slides” will now finally be accepted as having absolutely nothing to do with Roswell, New Mexico, let alone UFOs. I think it is fair to say that some of the wild claims and promotion we’ve seen throughout the affair have done more harm than good, but perhaps we need not leap to castigation of those involved so quickly. Yes, some people have been wrong, and yes, some have sought to profit from the experience. They have been up front about that along the way, and there have been those of us who have been skeptical of the entire thing since day one as well. We live, and we learn… and hopefully, more caution will be used in the future by those who follow, before similar bold claims are made. Honestly, my hope here may be unrealistic, but it is hope I maintain in my skeptical heart, nonetheless.

In conclusion, those with the Roswell Slides Research Group who worked on this did a fine job with the analysis they produced. Perhaps, had there been less secrecy from the outset by the promoters of the slides, some of the embarrassment they’ve sustained (and that cast upon the community) could have been avoided with the aid of such analysis beforehand. We can’t say it wasn’t offered.

Thus, the takeaway, for me, is that we should learn that transparency and proper communication must remain requisite in any such investigation. If men aren’t to be made fools of, then open dialogue, peer review, and skepticism must reign supreme; and with it, hopefully the acquisition of new perspectives on simple things which, in our excitement, some of us may have been blinded to along the way.

Addendum: Following the publication of this article, a researcher and colleague of mine, Shepherd Johnson, wrote to the Mesa Verde National Park inquiring about the Native American remains in question. The response he received, similar to one posted elsewhere online by Roswell Slides Research Group member Issac Koi, read as follows:

Dear Mr. Johnson:

Recently Mesa Verde National Park has received inquiries based on internet reports concerning the ancient remains of a human child which used to be on display in the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum. Out of respect for this child and his/her family, it was taken off public display many years ago. Although it was common practice in the past to display human remains in museums, we now try to treat them with the same respect we give to our own family members who have passed away.

There are many historical reports in the public domain of human remains that were recovered from various archeological sites in the Southwest in the early years. Interested readers can research authors like Dr. Jesse Walter Fewkes of the Smithsonian Institution and Gustav Nordenskiold. It’s important to remember that, regardless of how the remains were treated at the time of recovery, each was someone’s parent, child, and/or sibling. All should be treated with respect.

Sincerely,
Tara

Tara Travis, Ph.D.
Supervisory Museum Curator
Mesa Verde National Park and
Yucca House National Monument
PO Box 8
Mesa Verde, CO 81330

Update, June 12, 2015: As expected, a higher quality image of the mummy in the “Roswell Slide” has surfaced, linked below courtesy of the Roswell Slides Research Group and Greg Bishop of Radio Mysterioso. One can see that the placard in this later photo had been updated and revised.

new-slide

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19 Comments

  1. Teh Snork

    Furthermore it appears to say “slip-over” cotton shirt

    Reply
  2. David M Lowe

    Great Story. Every time someone claiming to have an alien body is repudiated, the UFO community is damaged beyond measure. The research and response to correct this miscarriage of trust by not only removing a sacred child from a historical burial site, but also making false claims to try and prove another incident has fortunately been honorable. Unfortunately in our efforts to disprove the US Government cover-up of the accident at Roswell, NM in 1947 we make mistakes. However, the biggest purveyor of dishonesty in the Roswell case is the USAF and the United States government who have clearly covered up the truth for decades.

    Reply
  3. jesse r loera

    Maybe next time.

    Reply
  4. Goddy Benzoa

    All along I felt the placard was suspicious. Would the military place such a sign inside the container as if it were some museum piece? If it was an alien, what would the placard have read?
    “Top Secret: Remains of extraterrestrial being retrieved from 1947 Roswell, New Mexico crash site. Image capture via your wife’s Kodak Brownie is strictly prohibited.
    Property of Area 51 Groom Lake, Nevada USA.”

    Reply
  5. Jim Gilstrap

    I first lost interest in the Roswell slides when I noticed Jamie Maussan was involved. I’m glad there is some closure here, otherwise the ‘true believers’ will continue to point to this incident as proof.

    There still may be a smoking gun out there, but this is not it.

    Reply
  6. Frank Norton

    An interesting piece of disinformation. Did anyone count the number of ribs, or the other missing human parts that the researchers identified!? Why would a two year old child that had died and been buried be displayed in a museum? I would rather disagree that the mummy was of an American Indian child. However my bet is just a gentleman’s bet … with no money on the table. Who can beat the government with its unlimited money.

    Reply
    1. Micah Hanks (Post author)

      Yes, it’s true. I work for the government, and my intent here was to mislead the public.

      All kidding aside though, I have included an addition to the bottom of the article above, where the Mesa Verde National Park Supervisory Museum Curator responded, and identified the mummy in question as one that had been formerly on display in their museum. I think I am well within the realm of certainty when I say this is not disinformation.

      I understand, however, that some people still believe this case dealt with “something more.” However, in fairness, I would ask those individuals whether they merely see something they “want” to believe is more exotic than it actually is.

      Most often, we can say this is simply not the case when it comes to dealing with highly controversial claims. Here again, it is not the case either, and I wish that proponents of the “ET” theory who are still clinging to that idea in relation to the Mesa Verde mummy would step back, and please give heartfelt consideration to the ethical questions about what promoting this (as being anything apart from the mummified remains of a human child) actually entails.

      Reply
    2. j

      First of all humans have 24 ribs. 12 on the front and 12 in the back. You can hardly count all of the ribs from the photo; corpse is in such a highly state of decomposition. Sorry, it’s just not an “Alien.” You can even see hair samples from the body lying next to it.

      Reply
  7. Pingback: ‘Roswell Photo Slide’ Revealed to be Mummified Boy | ronaldwederfoort

  8. Pingback: ‘Roswell Photo Slide’ Revealed to be Mummified Boy | Deus Nexus

  9. thepixelpusher

    My hope going forward is that all researchers public and private will come together and support each other and not take offense at criticism or relish in people’s missteps. To quote a motto from a member of the Roswell Slide Team, Paul Kimbell; “Don’t Believe. Don’t Disbelieve. Think.” To that I’d add “Don’t Fight”.

    Reply
  10. Taz Taylor

    Sometimes the most logical solution is the right solution. However, how can we explain all of the anatomic abnormalities present in the toddler? There were comments regarding his sternum and lack of a socket for the head of the femur, as well as other deformities.

    Reply
    1. Frank Williams

      The abnormalities you mentioned could well have been birth defects of such severity that the child was doomed to live only two years or so. It would be interesting to see if it is possible to obtain useable DNA from the body and determine conclusively that the body is a human child.

      Reply
  11. rita

    I have just read about all of this and I have a few comments.

    I was innately saddened and appalled when I saw the photo. Even if it were proven to be an E.T. corpse it would be disrespectful as well. I feel offended that such a photo would be put on display regardless of the ‘planet’ this Being called ‘home’.

    And I don’t understand why people would believe that a photo of a ‘corpse’ would be a big breakthrough in the field of UFO research. I also may be uninformed, however I don’t thing that the couple who originally possessed these images ever stated that they were photos of E.Ts. So I don’t really understand the connection to Roswell in the first place.

    Rita

    Reply
  12. John Alvarado

    It occurred to me, that if there is any truth to retrieved alien bodies, the powers that be who have control over such matters, are all having a good laugh over this fiasco.

    Reply
  13. Denniskirkwood

    Thesmallguyintheunivercenmorethanalltheeinstiansintheuniverse

    Reply
  14. WS

    I’m quite certain the promoters of this item knew exactly what they had. They would have known that it would be immediately discredited, but this would not matter to them. Their purpose was to sell overpriced tickets to an event at which they would be extremely careful not to say definitively that the remains were alien, so that they could not be charged with defrauding the people whose money they took, or required to return the money. What I don’t understand is how anyone would have mistaken the image for anything but the remains of a human child, even in a blurry screen shot, in an age where images of child mummies and archaeological remains are ubiquitous on the internet. I’m not an archaeologist, but when I saw the first blurry image, I could not see anything at all unusual about the child, and could only guess that some people don’t realize that the head of an infant or young child is proportionately larger than that of an adult. In any case, the remains are more or less irrelevant. The promoters accomplished what they intended — to rake in a bunch of money which they can legally keep. If they honestly believed the images showed alien remains, and they were serious researchers, they wouldn’t have been selling tickets. The fact that they were should have told everyone involved that it was fraudulent.

    Reply
  15. Cognitator

    William Casey, Director of CIA 1981-1987, has been quoted as having said, “We will know we have succeeded when everything that the public believes is false.” I think that’s a mission statement that everyone, especially true believers (of anything), should always keep in the back of their mind.

    Reply
  16. Pingback: ROSWELL SLIDES: ALIENS FOR SALE by Jeff Wingo | Alien Antichrist: UFOs and Aliens, Antichrist, and the End of Days

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