||By Kevin Randle
A Different Perspective
(Blogger’s note: Since this has come up, I thought I’d republish, with appropriate updates, the article from my The Roswell Encyclopedia about this. I believe I was the first to interview Jason Kellahin, first briefly on the telephone, and then in his home. I did notice one thing as we walked through his house. There was a copy of The Roswell Incident on his desk, as well as a number of newspaper articles about the Roswell crash that he referred to periodically. Clearly he had been reviewing that material before I had arrived and just as clearly that influenced what he told me based on the documented facts available. That interview was videotaped and a copy was provided to the Fund for UFO Research and does not agree with the affidavit that he signed some time later.)
Jason Kellahin was an AP reporter based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the summer of 1947. He received a call from the New York office of the Associated Press telling him that he needed to get down to Roswell as quickly as possible. According to Kellahin, “We [Kellahin and Robin Adair] were informed of the discovery down there…the bureau chief sent me and a teletype operator from the Albuquerque office.” Please note that he specifically mentioned the discovery down there.
I interviewed Kellahin in his home more than forty years later and he told me then, “It must have been in the morning because we went down there in the daytime. It would take a couple of hours to get down there…”
Kellahin continued, saying, “We went down to Vaughn [New Mexico]. Just south of Vaughn is where they found the material.”
The ranch, according to Kellahin, wasn’t very far from the main highway (Highway 285) from Vaughn to Roswell. They turned from that highway just south of Vaughn, onto the Corona road. They were driving to the west and saw “a lot of cars and went over. We assumed that [this] was the place. There were officers from the air base. They were there before we got there.” This does not agree with the affidavit that Kellahin would sign sometime later.
Kellahin described military cars, civilian cars and even police vehicles parked along the side of the road. In one of the fields adjacent to the road, at the far end of it, were a number of military officers, not more than five or six of them. Kellahin left his vehicle and entered the field where he saw the scattered debris.
“This man from Albuquerque with me [Adair], he had a camera. He took some pictures of the stuff lying on the ground and of the rancher who was there…Brazel was there and he [the photographer] took his picture.”
Kellahin asked Brazel a few questions, interviewing him there, in the field. “I talked to him. He told me his name [Brazel] and we had been told it was on his ranch.”
|Convenience store in Vaughn, NM
Kellahin didn’t remember much about what Brazel had said. “About the only thing he said he walked out there and found this stuff and he told a neighbor about it and the neighbor said you ought to tell the sheriff…it was the next day [he] went down to Roswell.”
Standing there in the field, near the debris, Kellahin had the chance to examine it closely. “It wasn’t much of anything. Just some silver colored fabric and very light wood…a light wood like you’d make a kite with…I didn’t pick it up. In fact, they [the military] asked us not to pick up anything…You couldn’t pick it up and have identified it. You have to have known [what it was]. But it was a balloon. It looked more like a kite than anything else.”
The debris covered a small area, not more than half an acre. The military men were standing close by as Kellahin interviewed Brazel but didn’t try to interfere. “They weren’t paying much attention. They didn’t interfere with me. I went wherever I wanted to go. They didn’t keep me off the place at all. Me or the photographer.” Kellahin tried to talk to the military people, but they didn’t give him any information. “They were being very, very cautious because they didn’t know.”
He didn’t have much time for the interview because the military officers came over and told him they were finished and were going to take Brazel into Roswell. With Brazel gone and the cleanup of the debris finished, there wasn’t much reason for the AP reporters to remain. Kellahin and Adair continued their trip to Roswell, arriving before dark.
Kellahin confirmed some of this, saying that “We went down to the Roswell Daily Record and I wrote a story and we sent it out on the AP wire…Adair developed his pictures and set up the wire photo equipment and sent it out.”
The story about all this that appeared in the newspaper ended saying, “Adair and Kellahin were ordered to Roswell for the special assignment by the headquarters bureau of AP in New York.”
Kellahin, when he left the ranch, had expected to see Brazel in Roswell, the next day, but said, “I don’t recall that I did. I think the military was talking to him and wouldn’t let him talk to anyone else to my recollection…I saw him there but…there were some military people with him.”
Following the story as far as he could, Kellahin talked to Sheriff Wilcox. “When we got down there to the newspaper, he was there. I saw him there or at his office…By that time the military had gotten into it. He was being very cautious.”
“It was a weather balloon,” said Kellahin. “In my opinion that’s what it was. That’s what we saw. We didn’t see anything else to indicate it was anything else.”
Once they finished in the newspaper office, Kellahin returned to Albuquerque and Adair was ordered to return to El Paso to finish his job there. By the time Kellahin arrived in to Albuquerque, there was a new story for him that had nothing to do with flying saucers. Another assignment that was just as important as his last.
There are some points that must be made. The raw testimony from Kellahin must be put into context with that provided by others, including Adair. Both Kellahin and Adair were trying to answer the questions as honestly as they could, attempting to recall the situation as it was in July 1947. However, they are at odds with one another. There clearly is no way for Adair to be both in El Paso as he claimed and in Albuquerque as suggested by Kellahin.
Given the circumstances, there are some things that can be established. A number of newspaper articles about the events, written in 1947, have been reviewed. Although many of them had no by-line, they did carry an AP slug and did identify the location as Roswell. Since Kellahin was the only AP reporter there, assigned by the bureau chief in Albuquerque at the request of the AP headquarters in New York, it is clear that he wrote the articles.
The first problem encountered is Kellahin’s memory of getting the call early in the morning. That simply doesn’t track with the evidence. Walter Haut’s press release was not issued until sometime after noon on July 8 and it didn’t go out on either the news wires until later. George Walsh of radio station KSWS remembered that Haut had telephoned the press release to him “about mid-day.” He copied the press release exactly, as Haut read it to him over the phone. Walsh, in turn called it into the Associated Press in Albuquerque. From there the release was put on the AP wire and that story was published in a number of newspapers.
There is a document, created in 1947, that provides the exact times for some of this. According The Daily Illini, the first of the stories on the Associated Press wire appeared at 4:26 p.m. on the east coast. That would mean that the stories went out from Albuquerque, sometime prior to 2:26 p.m.
That means there would be no reason for the AP to assign a reporter (Kellahin) on the morning of July 8. There was no story about the flying saucer until that afternoon. And, by the morning of July 9, the story was dead and no reason to send anyone to Roswell. The photos had already been taken of the debris in Fort Worth and the information about the nature of the debris had already released to the press. Besides, the story in the July 9 issue of The Roswell Daily Record makes it clear that they, Kellahin and Adair, had already arrived in Roswell, coming down on July 8.
Second is the story that Kellahin saw the weather balloon on the Brazel ranch. His description of the location, south of Vaughn but just off the main highway to Roswell is inaccurate (which is the advantage of having been there myself. I knew what the terrain looked like and how close, or far, it was from the highway.) The debris field, as identified by Bill Brazel and Bud Payne, is not close to the Vaughn – Roswell highway. In fact, the field where the debris was discovered is not visible from the roads around it. It is a cross country drive into a shallow valley.
More importantly, by the time Kellahin could have gotten to that field, the balloon should have been removed if it was just a balloon as described by Kellahin. In fact, according to Marcel and the newspaper articles, the balloon was already in Fort Worth if we believe what has been reported. After all, a balloon wouldn’t have taken long to collect and Marcel had done that the day before.
Kellahin said in his affidavit that he had visited Brazel at the ranch house, met Brazel’s wife and young son. That is different from what he told me, and from the neighbors said and what Bill Brazel said. After meeting Brazel at the ranch house, they drove to the field where the debris was found.
Kellahin’s testimony of seeing a balloon out in the field is intriguing, not because he is an eyewitness to the balloon on the crash site, but because of what it suggests. If there was a balloon, it would mean that the Army had to bring one in. In other words, they were salting the area, and that, in and of itself, would be important. It would suggest that the Army had something to hide, if they were planting evidence.
Given the sequencing of events, based on the newspaper accounts and other testimony, the earliest that Kellahin could have been in the field was late in the afternoon (around four or five p.m.) on July 8. However, by that time, Marcel and the special flight from Roswell were already in Fort Worth. If the balloon explanation is accurate, then the evidence had long since been collected and there would be nothing for Kellahin to see.
Kellahin also said there had been photographs taken while on that field. These photos, according to Kellahin had been transmitted from Roswell. The photo of Brazel transmitted, however, was one that had been taken, not in the field, but in the newspaper offices. If there were pictures taken in the field they have never been printed. Had they existed, even if of poor quality, they would have been printed. After all, what could be better than pictures of Mack Brazel with the debris in the field? Here was the most persuasive of evidence… Brazel, military officers, standing in the field with the remains of a balloon but apparently those pictures were never printed by any AP newspaper at any time.
By contrast, the seven pictures taken in Ramey’s office were printed throughout the country. All seven have been located. Even the fairly rare picture of Irving Newton was printed in Texas newspapers and was used by the editors of Look when they printed their Flying Saucers special in 1966. But those that Kellahin claimed had been taken of Brazel on his ranch with the debris clearly displayed have never been found. That suggests that Kellahin’s memory is flawed on this point.
The best evidence available is that Kellahin did not stop at the ranch on his way down to Roswell. He is mistaken about that. The lack of the photographs and evidence about the location of Brazel on the afternoon of July 8 suggest it. The location that Kellahin gives is in error though he does suggest in his affidavit that rather than stumbling upon the field, he was led to it by Brazel. The ranch was not close to Vaughn, and the debris field is not close to any road.
By the time Kellahin and Adair arrived in Roswell and were ready to begin reporting, some of the pressure was off. Ramey, in Fort Worth, explained that the material found in Roswell was nothing extraordinary. The FBI had issued a telex that suggested it was a balloon after discussing all this with Major Kirton in Fort Worth though it doesn’t seem the FBI bought the explanation. No longer was New York demanding pictures. In fact, several pictures had already been taken in Fort Worth.
The interview with Brazel occurred on the evening of July 8, according to the newspaper article in the July 9 edition of The Roswell Daily Record. Brazel was brought in by the owner of KGFL, Walt Whitmore, Sr. Brazel was then interviewed by Kellahin, as well as a reporter for the Roswell Daily Record. The pictures transmitted, those of Brazel and George Wilcox, are ones that had been taken in the office for that purpose. Kellahin wrote his story, which appeared in the newspapers the next day.
With the story dead, Kellahin was ordered to return to what he had been doing. He left Roswell. Kellahin believed that nothing extraordinary had been found and there was no reason for the events to stick in his mind.
The point here, however, is that if you accept any of the Kellahin testimony as fact and use it to bolster a theory, you are building on a shaky foundation. We can document who was doing what and where at the time and Kellahin’s story does not match any of that. Yes, he was in Roswell and yes, he did interview Brazel, but he didn’t see him at his ranch, there are no pictures of Brazel in that field, and the time line suggested by Kellahin is badly flawed.
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