Lastly, What Roswell Proved

by Martin Kottmeyer

There are not many properties of the UFO phenomenon which can be said to have the quality of a universal scientific law, but Jacques Scornaux proclaimed he found one a couple decades ago. Upon first hearing Scornaux's Law, its simple obviousness filled it with the ring of truth. It fit every case I had known and predicted a pattern I instinctively felt would prove true. I embraced it as a rare piece of wisdom so rarely realized in UFO studies. It went like this:

"The refutability of a case is directly proportional to the publicity it receives."

The years since I encountered Scornaux’s Law have seen ample high-profile debacles to prove its value to me. One need only mention names like Whitley Strieber, Gulf Breeze, the Linda high-rise abduction, and John Mack to realize the validity of the pattern. I habitually thought of the law’s application in terms of newly arisen cases, but upon recently being asked about Roswell it struck me that even this revived corpse from the past was not immune. Indeed it now stands out as the most sterling example of the law's iron force.

Consider it. No case in the history of UFOlogy has been as widely publicized as Roswell. How many books, videos, articles have been produced in its defense? I wouldn't even want to try to count them all. It has been the subject of made-for-TV movies, been referred to repeatedly on shows like the X-Files, and been cited in that major blockbuster Independence Day. Tabloid TV featured stories on it and even a major TV news magazine or two have done pieces on it. A notorious TV special on an alien autopsy related to Roswell got good ratings. It is a phenomenal publicity success which makes any other UFO story look trivial in comparison.

And now, in 1998, no case in the history of UFOlogy is as thoroughly refuted as Roswell. The Air Force produced two major reports. Two book-length refutations analyzing every detail of the Roswell phenomenon have been published — Kal K. Korff's The Roswell UFO Crash: What They Don't Want You to Know and Philip J. Klass's The Real Roswell Crashed Saucer Coverup. Other books and papers could be cited as reinforcement, but the quantity is less important here than the solidity of refutation which can be fairly assessed as absolute and total. No reasonable doubt remains. We know the Roswell case originated in the crash of a balloon launched as part of a Cold War secret project called Project Mogul.

The interesting feature of this solution is how it almost mystically eliminated all doubts. I say mystically because while one might think the Project Mogul connection was the source of the impression that some sort of governmental cover-up was involved, in fact it wasn't. Klass has demonstrated the people in Project Mogul never realized Roswell involved one of their balloons. They thought their balloon was simply lost and never prevailed upon anyone to cover up its secret nature. The people who issued the weather balloon explanation honestly thought they had a weather balloon on their hands because the foil material seemed identical to the radar reflectors on standard weather balloons. The Project Mogul material was a radar reflector identical for most practical purposes save a curious detail. The Scotch tape used in its construction had colored flowers and symbols on it because they got it from a New York City toy manufacturer. This detail is what led witnesses to speak of hieroglyphics on the Roswell material and ironically what makes the solution certain. Without the accident of the involvement of the toy manufacturer, the idea that Project Mogul provided the solution to the case would have been a long shot and subject to arguments of improbability. Weather balloons are far more common and were largely consistent with the photographs that were the hard evidence.

There is a little appreciated comic twist in this solution. Project Mogul was a failure. It was formed as an effort to detect the acoustic signals of atomic bombs should the Russians begin testing them in the atmosphere. It was speculated that a channel for sound ducting existed in the upper atmosphere similar to that which truly does exist in the ocean. When they tried to detect acoustic signals from the explosion of German installations at Helgoland in April 1948 the effort was a failure. It never filled its primary objective and there seems some doubt it could have. Not only was Roswell not the story of the millenium as its proponents hyped, it suffers the indignity of digging up a revelation that deserved its anonymity. Weather balloons at least were doing a valuable service in helping chart the atmosphere for meteorology. Project Mogul was ultimately a waste of money, despite basically honorable intentions.

It is an axiomatic certainty that the infamous alien autopsy film was a fraud. Aliens never crashed at Roswell; therefore, any film purporting to show they did is a lie, Even if that deduction were not evident from the foregoing, more proofs were generated when it was pointed out that autopsy specimens are always placed directly in glass containers to prevent contamination and never in metal pans as shown in the film. More, blood would never flow from an incision in a days-old corpse since gravity causes it to pool at the bottom of a dead body.

It can be said with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight that a respect for Scornaux's Law would have saved a great many people a lot of wasted time, wasted money, and embarrassment. Interest in UFOlogy in the U.S. has greatly declined in the wake of the Roswell debacle. Enthusiasm over hyped UFO cases has turned to disgust. It was all for nothing once more it seems. But maybe not if we realize there is a lesson to be learned. All hail Scornaux’s Law. He has been proven right again and in spectacular fashion.

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