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:
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.
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.