Last night in Mexico City, a special public event was held that showcased a series of controversial Kodachrome slides, which some are promoting as evidence of an “alien” body. The unreleased photos, which have now been referred to for months as “The Roswell Slides”, were believed to have been taken by geologists Bernard and Hilda Ray sometime in 1947. They depict a small, obviously deceased humanoid figure, which some have suggested could be a set of mummified remains in what appears to be a museum display. The event was held by UFO enthusiast and promoter Jaimie Maussan.
“The body appears to have been autopsied,” said historian and UFO researcher Richard Dolan, who had been invited to attend and lecture at the event. “This is fascinating… What really has impressed me is the analysis that has been done on the slides,” Dolan told host George Noory on the late night program Coast to Coast AM shortly after the presentation.
“What they require is the largest number of qualified individuals to look at them in a qualified analysis,” Dolan recommended, noting further that many qualified experts had been present already, some of whom argued that the body in the Kodachrome slide “was not human,” and strangely, that it may not have been a mammal.
“I can’t say that I would bet that it’s a hoax,” Dolan said when asked by Noory if he would bet on the legitimacy of the photo, noting, however, that he had, “been a little more hesitant to connect [the photos] to Roswell” than others involved with the event.
Update: Richard Dolan has shared his latest thoughts about the Roswell Slides in a post at the KGRA website.
Following the presentation, which was simulcast online as a pay-per-view event, several in the online community displayed less enthusiasm about the photo, copies of which began to appear online shortly afterward.
“A shriveled-up mummified child or dwarf is not a well-preserved “alien” that would, obviously, be preserved in formaldehyde or another chemical,” said author Wm Michael Mott on his Facebook page. “If you bought into this “Roswell Slides” hoax, I have some magic beans to sell to you.”
Similarly, author and blogger Nick Redfern wrote:
“Roswell Slides? Now we have the high res image, the answer is: No! Mummified child. Also, check out the hairy head behind the main head. It too has a small white placard by it. Clearly this is some sort of museum setting, or freak show. Interesting, but it has zero relevance to Roswell.”
Nick further expounded on the “other object” described above over at his blog.
Elsewhere, researcher Chase Kloetzke offered the following:
“The more I look at it, the more it [resembles] a museum display case with a mummy of some sort. Even the item it lays upon seems to have “texture”… perhaps woven, such as would be found in some South American or meso-American dig sites; used as Funeral wrappings.”
Providing commentary via his Twitter account, blogger Red Pill Junkie, who was in attendance in the audience at the Mexico City event, shared the following:
Back from the Roswell event. So here are a few personal thoughts
1. My expectations were low but I must say it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected
2. The big question is “what now?” Will they let other researchers conduct inddpendent analysis on them?
3. Best part of the whole thing was the forensic analysis conducted by the Mexican specialists (plus 1 Canadian)
3.2 But now of course comes the questions of who these people are and what are their credentials and experience in previous studies…
4. My opinion at this moment: Either the slides turn into the 2nd Santilli video (i.e. hoax) or the 2nd P-G film (i.e. we need a body!!)
And as reported in The Mirror, UFO enthusiasts elsewhere on Twitter were filing their complaints under the hashtag, “#BeDisappointed“.
Back in February, I wrote an article at Mysterious Universe that offered my own feelings about how this might play out, which included two possibilities about what the photos may show:
- A child or infant body with an enlarged head due to brain swelling resulting from hydrocephalus or some similar condition
- The mummified remains of a child or otherwise diminutive individual, similar to a number of examples displayed in photographs, which reside today in various museums
In that MU piece, I made a number of tangential observations, questioning how a simple photograph would, by itself, prove anything at all. “[T]he image we have of the purported ‘alien’ which researchers Schmitt, Carey and others are touting as final “proof” of an extraterrestrial body found at Roswell appears to be anything but,” I wrote.
I also stated my feeling that we need not resort to ad hominem attacks against Carey, Schmitt, Maussan, and the others promoting these so-called Roswell slides. I’ve spoken with Carey and Schmitt before, both “on and off the microphone,” so to speak. We’ve compared notes on things, and in my experience, I’ve found that I don’t generally agree with a lot of their views on subjects pertaining to the study of unexplained aerial phenomena; however, I like them both as individuals. Here again, it’s simply the fact that I don’t think that what they are promoting with the so-called “Roswell Slides” represents anything involving UFOs.
Richard Dolan further expounded on the negative attacks that followed the event, particularly against Jaimie Maussan:
“The attacks in particular on Jaime Maussan are startling. I am not saying anyone in this field is perfect. But I know Jaime and have seen him at work first-hand. I know he cares about the truth. He certainly did not make money on this event — the current guess is that he lost money, but he doesn’t care. He was the only person to step up and arrange for scientific analyses, which included not only money for testing, but for travel. He recorded the process of the investigation, which is valuable. He did a great deal. The comments and invective are not simply ignorant, but they are beneath the dignity of decent people. If you have a problem with any of this, why get personal about it? I have never understood that attitude.”
True, there is no need for ad hominem attacks, harsh words, or character assassination with any of this. If we disagree, by doing so respectfully, we may further the dialogue, and perhaps come to a few more resolute determinations.
Which, in fairness, brings us to a number of the questions I asked back in February:
- How can anything appearing solely in a series of photographs, without a physical specimen to match, offer “proof” that would meet the requirements of science? No biologist, chemist, or physicist would look at a photograph–blurry or not–as being representative of good, physical evidence.
- Much like the argument with regard to the “Atacama Humanoid” featured in Stephen Greer’s documentary Sirius, how would anything that was discovered on Earth, let alone something so obviously resembling mummified human remains, offer “proof” of extraterrestrials? What evidence can conclusively present any connection between the two? At least with “Ata,” we had a physical specimen (Note that, as many reading this will already be aware, the Atacama humanoid was proven, despite apparent anomalies, to be human.)
- When confronted with extraordinary claims of “alien life,” logic would further dictate, rather than making un-objective guesses that exert a bias equivalent to wish fulfillment, that prosaic explanations would be offered instead, and, if deemed necessary, either accepted or ruled out before leaping to otherwise illogical presumptions (Example: in likelihood, this image shows a case of hydrocephalus, rather than an alien being for which we can account for no known organism (i.e. an alien) against which we can make such an illogical comparison).
There are plenty of people who disagree with my sentiments about such things (not only those in the field, and those associated with the slides). As one commenter had written about the aforementioned questions back in February:
Let’s not dare to study any “pseudoscience” according to Micah.
Much like the argument with regard to the “Atacama Humanoid” featured in Stephen Greer’s documentary Sirius, how would anything that was discovered on Earth, let alone something so obviously resembling mummified human remains, offer “proof” of extraterrestrials?
Honestly the Atacama Humanoid, much like the star-child skull has been studied by scientist with opposing view points. It all smacks of the old “heretical” threats made by the Catholic Church of old, but then again, the Catholic Church itself believes in God, another pseudoscience. So it begs the question of what exactly is pseudoscience? Whatever folk like Micah say that it is? Science will never answer anything if we stop looking for something “different”, thus, I think it is time put the word “pseudoscience” in a well deserved trashcan somewhere.
Contrary to this, there are some instances where I see plenty of need for the study “pseudoscience”, if by that we mean extraordinary claims which still require proof that meets the rigors of professional scientific approval. Science, in truth, often gets a very bad rap, in that people often presume that by saying there is no reliable evidence for something, it has been dismissed.
Science isn’t about taking anecdotal evidence and offering it as “proof”. It’s about applying a methodological approach to studying observable phenomena, in a way that presents physical evidence that can be studied objectively, in a controlled setting (laboratory), and with the hope for repeatable results that clearly define any conclusions that are made.
That said, I should express here, for clarity, that for one to doubt the scenario depicted in the so-called “Roswell Slides” is not tantamount to calling it a hoax, or launching an attack against their authenticity, or the intentions of those presenting them before the public. Disagreements can be made respectfully, and I hope my dissenting opinion has been received as such, thus far. But while I feel the photos clearly show something other than what they are being billed as, I do not doubt the integrity of those who feel they are something else, and who promote them as such.
I do, however, still find it very hard to see how anyone would logically link these images with anything related to UFOs, after asking a few hard questions about them (as I outlined above, and back in February).
With regard to things like unexplained aerial phenomenon, I’m not one to dismiss such reports at all. However, we should think carefully about what the reports may represent. Looking further back, I know that I, like many, came into this area of interest with very naive attitudes at the outset, and in my youth, had seldom looked beyond the weak philosophy that, “if it looks extraordinary, it must be alien.” Skeptic Brian Dunning similarly told podcaster Joe Rogan that, only years prior to his appearance on Rogan’s podcast, that he had essentially taken at face value such things as the Patterson/Gimlin film, which purports to show a female Sasquatch near Bluff Creek, California, was authentic. Who knows, it may still be… but the evidence supporting this seems very weak, based on analysis made by primatologists, anthropologists, special effects experts, and a host of others who have raised serious questions about the film (many of them die-hard Bigfoot enthusiasts, like Peter Byrne and the late Mark Chorvinski).
The point is that, while some may claim they were seemingly born with a “natural gift” of discernment that helps them recognize those things which are obviously bunk, science looks to eliminate the improbable, based on what applied knowledge can help us discern through logic.
Thinking in this manner, several years ago I began to question whether anything represented in UFO reports could reliably steer us in the direction of an “alien” reality. Sure, there appears to be something going on in many UFO reports (and I’m not talking about purported UFO abductions here… I’m addressing observations of seemingly exotic aircraft, with the occasional inclusion of occupants seen on board). But very little reliable evidence exists beyond what many witnesses relate in their first-hand accounts, and hence very little remains which points us toward something non-human. Even if the latter could be reliably proven, it wouldn’t necessarily indicate that life from other worlds had successfully made its way here to Earth; we could suppose in such an instance that we (humans) would still be left with the logical question about the origins of such beings, and to me, calling them “extraterrestrial” is quite a logical leap in the absence of proof to support it.
I considered a number of these sorts of questions, looking at the more reliable grains of the so-called “UFO phenomenon” that trickle down occasionally from a non-alien (and likely human) perspective, in my book The UFO Singularity. In it, while remaining inclusive with regard to the idea that, someplace in our universe, life might indeed exist, nowhere in the book do I support the idea that extraterrestrials are visiting Earth in manned aircraft. I do engage in thought experiments in the book, however, where I make a number of comparisons with popular science (and science fiction) works, which incorporate ideas that include extraterrestrial civilizations, time travel, and artificial intelligence.
Coming back to the Roswell Slides, we have collected a lot of information about purported unidentified flying objects. A vast number of the reports constituting this information can be explained, and with time, and the collection of more data pertaining to nature, history, technological innovations, etc, we will be able to reliably offer solutions to more and more of those reports. With Roswell, we have a story that, over time, has been whittled away at with varying perspectives, opinions, and suggestions that there were indeed technologies – our own – that were being covered up in the interest of national security. These various arguments have driven some researchers, like Kevin Randle, further away from looking at the purported Roswell crash as being anything representative of alien technology.
And for me, as I said back in February, I maintain that to offer still images of a humanoid body, linked to the Roswell incident by virtue of possibly having been made the same year in question, and by two geologists who lived in the general area where the Roswell incident occurred, does little to further the case for an alien vehicle crashing in New Mexico in 1947… let alone the broader UAP phenomenon.
Sure, maybe we should suspend our judgement, and give this a little more time. I’m willing to do that, with respect to all parties involved (some of whom are friends of mine in the community, with whom I will maintain my stance of respectful disagreement, until better evidence if forthcoming). With confidence, however, I feel that if a serious, methodical, and complete scientific treatment were given to this, apart from the independent analysis by experts who claim the figure in the blurry frames is somehow non-human, and perhaps non-mammalian (a truly absurd claim, in my view), we would again find that while searching for aliens, we have indeed found further evidence for intelligent life… right here on Earth.
Addendum: Amsterdam-based UAP researcher Gerard Aartsen responded to this piece with the a very thoughtful counter point, which I felt warranted inclusion here, as it does offer a bit of balance to my otherwise hard-lined stances espoused here about the nature of the scientific process:
“Micah, you say: “Science isn’t about taking anecdotal evidence and offering it as “proof”. It’s about applying a methodological approach to studying observable phenomena, in a way that presents physical evidence that can be studied objectively, in a controlled setting (laboratory), and with the hope for repeatable results that clearly define any conclusions that are made.”
Actually, this is, in the words of physicist Fritjoff Capra (1978), “the mechanistic and reductionist view that underlies classical physics and the general Western way of thinking.” As even the late great Carl Sagan said in his ‘baloney detection kit’ (1997), “there are .. truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.”
So I submit to you that in the case of such qualitative issues, science of necessity is about taking anecdotal evidence, and seeking corroboration from as many and as varied independent sources as possible. (And no, that doesn’t mean I think the slides offer proof of anything.)
Otherwise, thanks for a useful roundup of the various sentiments re the Mexico City event.”