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The Secret of the Plains Revealed


(originally published May 2010)



Evidence now suggests that when we think of the "Roswell UFO crash", that we should not just think of crash sites that were located within relatively close proximity to one another. We should also consider a possibly related site located much further away – within West Central New Mexico. It is a highly significant site, for this is where it was reported that the corpses of interplanetary pilots were found.


A boost has now been given to the credibility of the famous but contentious "Barney Barnett" story of a UFO crash in New Mexico's "Plains of San Augustin" region. Fresh evidence supporting this event comes from:


  • A recent interview with a decorated Colonel about his talk with witness Barney Barnett


  • A possible confirmation of Barney Barnett's encounter by Intelligence Agent and Roswell witness Jesse Marcel Sr.


  • Telling information about another crash site with bodies, provided by Jesse Marcel's Sr.'s daughter-in-law to this author


  • The stunning discovery of a Harvard University document about archaeologists at the scene of the reported crash. The document exposes the archaeologist who is now found to have lied to researchers that he was not there and that he had seen nothing.


Considered together, this information points to another crash event that may have in some way been associated with the Roswell incident. But this site may be of equal or greater interest and importance than the ones commonly discussed. This is because at this site, a strange metallic disk rested, cracked on a flat desert floor. Aside it and inside it were strewn the smallish bodies of the unearthly.


Grady L. "Barney" Barnett

Grady L. "Barney" Barnett was highly regarded as an official of long standing with the US Soil Conservation Service in New Mexico. His story was first related in the first book on Roswell, The Roswell Incident, published in 1980 and authored by William Moore and Charles Berlitz, with the assistance of Stanton Friedman. Today the Barnett story remains largely ignored, forgotten or discredited, as it does not neatly "fit" into the Roswell story and locations as told today.


Barnett had related to some friends that while out working on projects around the Plains of San Augustin (also spelled San Agustin), he had encountered a disk-shaped spaceship the color of dirty stainless steel, about twenty or thirty feet in diameter. While examining the disk, a small group of university research archaeologists on a dig arrived and also encountered the crash and corpses.


The bodies were entirely unlike anything that Barnett and his companions had ever seen. They had huge hairless heads and were outfitted in one-piece grayish suits with no belts or zippers. According to information provided by Barnett's friends and associates (who spoke publicly about the event after his death), soldiers then soon arrived. A cordon was put in place around the crash site and the civilians were admonished that it was their duty to country not to say anything to anyone of what they had seen.

Although the time frame of Barnett's encounter was similar to Roswell's, Barnett had placed his sighting of the downed craft and pilots over 200 miles from Roswell – in the "Plains of San Augustin" region of New Mexico. The machine was split open upon explosion or impact. Barnett got close enough to see what the creature pilots looked like, but he did not touch them. He said that they were like humans but not humans, small by our standards. They seemed to be males, and there were a number of them. The eyes were oddly spaced. Barnett told his friends that military officers then drove up to the scene and told the assembled to leave. They were escorted off the site and were told to say nothing ever of what they had witnessed.

Barnett's story first came to light through researcher Stanton Friedman. After a talk Friedman had given at Bemidji State College in October 1978 (before all of the Roswell books), he was approached by Vern Maltais and his wife Jean. The Maltais couple related to Friedman a story that they were told many years prior by one Grady "Barney" Barnett: A flying saucer had fallen and their friend confessed that he saw it.

Barnett's Neighbor,
Vern Maltais

Many people have spoken very well of Grady "Barney" Barnett, who died in 1969:




Vern Maltais and his wife Jean say that in February of 1950, Barney told them a story about an incredible UFO crash event that had happened just "a few years prior" in the New Mexico desert. He provided details about his encounter, including viewing bodies that were not human. He said to Maltais that the bodies were very thin, three and a half to four feet tall and that there were four of them. Maltais also said that Barney spoke of archaeologists arriving at the crash scene.


Though an incredible story, they believed Barney. That is because they knew Barnett to be a believable man. And he was. He was a WW I Army Vet, later employed by the US Government in a responsible position performing inspection and field engineering services for many years. A church-going Presbyterian and Board Member of the Socorro Electric Co-op, he was highly regarded by those in his community. Lee Garner, a former Mayor of Socorro, speaks of Barney as a truthful and trustworthy man.



Barney's boss during the 1940s and 1950s was James "Fleck" Danley. Danley was on the Water Conservation Board in Magdalena, NM. Danley and Danley's wife Beth recall Barney fondly and favorably as well. But they go one step further and recall the time when Barney quietly told them about the UFO crash, corroborating the Maltais couple's claim. Fleck explained in an interview in 1979 (again, before all of the Roswell books) that Barney had mentioned to him his witnessing of a crashed flying saucer. Some years later Fleck described Barney "one of the most honest men I ever knew. I never knew Barney to lie. Not about anything."




Barney's neighbor and close friend Harold Baca also indicates that he too was privately related this crash story by Barney. Barney brought it up in connection with the cancer that he was battling in 1967. Barney told Baca about the crash from decades prior. He had expressed to Baca a concern: by bending over the debris and bodies, Barney was fearful that he may have inhaled something toxic while leaning over the crash site. He felt that it may have been related to the respiratory cancer he was currently suffering. Baca once asked Barney's wife about the crash site: "Was Barney hallucinating or what?" Ruth replied: "Oh no! It really happened there out on the Plains twenty years ago! But we just do not talk about it much anymore." Ruth explains, "We had other things to do at that time. We were raising a family of four and I just didn't discuss it anymore with them. It wasn't until later on that I grasped what the man had seen. He died and I regretted not getting more information."




Barney's niece, Alice Knight, is more specific about when the crash happened. She indicated that she has known of the crash that involved Barney for many, many decades. She states that she and her new husband John Braxton had visited Socorro and Uncle Barney on Thanksgiving in 1947. She said that the event had happened "only several months before" (likely the summer of that year) and that her uncle was "still nervous" about the possibility of "military showing up." She thought he was "on a road near the Plains of San Augustin." She said that Barney had mentioned encountering "some folks on a dig" while at the crash site. We will soon see just who was there "on a dig" later in this article. Barney's niece also mentioned that her Aunt (Barney's wife Ruth) once confided to her about Barney: "After that thing in '47, Barney was not quite himself."


We are presented with Barney's boss, a close relative, a neighbor, and a friend who all independently tell the story of Barney's alien ordeal. Researcher Art Campbell wonders: "What factors but Barney's honesty and sincerity would compel Barney's friends and relatives to tell the same lifelong story without variance amid much inconvenience, with nothing to gain?"


Though Barney's wife Ruth maintained a diary, it does not mention this crash event, but it does confirm that Barney was out on the Plains on July 2 of 1947. Why this crash revelation was not mentioned in the diary is understandable. It is not something that you want to commit to print. It would be too incriminating. Putting it on paper would be risky. Alice Knight said that Barney and Ruth agreed to never write anything down about the event. Just like those at Roswell with no known diaries describing the crash event, the Barnett encounter would not be found in any diary. But some who were entrusted would be imparted this information. It was told to only a very few – to those who would only relate what they knew when Barney himself was dead.


A young William Leed

William Leed retired as a Colonel of the U.S. Army and has a very interesting tale to tell about Barney Barnett. Highly decorated, Leed served at Ft. Hood and other locations and was in the Signal Corps. He left active duty in 1995. Leed's story about Barnett's UFO crash experience adds to the information provided by the Maltais couple, the Danley couple, Barney's neighbor, and Barney's niece. Some years ago, Leed contacted researcher Stanton Friedman after becoming aware of Friedman's research on Barney Barnett and the Plains UFO crash. Leed indicated that he had actually met Barney Barnett back in the 1960s. Leed is consistent in his story, and recounts accurately to me what he told Stanton Friedman two decades ago.


With assistance from researcher Art Campbell (who provided several of the photos for this article), this author interviewed Leed a few months ago by telephone at Leed's upstate New York home. What Leed has to say supports the veracity of Barney Barnett and the likely truth of the story he told.

When Leed was a First Lieutenant in the mid-1960s, the subject of UFOs arose amongst Leed and a few officers. Leed told me that a superior officer then approached him to tell him a little more about the subject. Leed says that the officer

then confidentially took Leed aside and told him that if he wanted to know the truth about UFOs, he should track down a person named Mr. Barney Barnett of Socorro, New Mexico. Barnett, he was told, "was a man who had touched one."

In the summer of 1967, Leed began a quest to research Barnett's whereabouts and to meet with him. Leed located Barney's address, and began a vacation-adventure throughout the Southwest that would include a stop at Barney's house. Pulling up to Barney's modest house in a non air-conditioned car, Leed recalls, he was a bit shy and nervous about actually approaching Barney at his home. Mustering the courage, he was greeted kindly by Barnett, by then very thin and frail, who invited him in. Leed cautiously began to introduce himself. Leed was asked by Barney to show some ID – and Leed showed him his military ID, but said that his interest was strictly personal. He then began to inquire about what he had heard – that Barney saw a crashed UFO many years ago. Leed was there for less than 15 minutes and took up more time with "tourist talk" and less than five minutes on the crashed UFO subject. Leed told me that Barney confirmed that a disc-type aircraft had crashed and that he came across it unexpectedly. Barney confirmed to Leed – without ambiguity – that he believed it to have been the crash of a flying saucer, not something from Earth. Barney appeared somewhat nervous and indicated to Leed that he had been visited before by military about the event.

Leed (who in my interview of him seemed very frank and articulate) explained to me that he believed that Barney was telling the absolute truth as he remembered it. Leed said that he knew this because of Barney's anxious but sincere look and demeanor. Leed sensed that Barney may have feared that he was being interrogated or intimidated by military visits (something it is said that did happen to Barney in intervening years). Leed told me that it was not his objective to obtain "every little detail" about Barney's experience, but rather what Leed wanted to do most was to get a sense of his basic honesty. Leed said: "I am satisfied that Barney was telling the truth. That's all I wanted to know, and I left."

Dr. Herbert Dick

The presence of archaeologists at the scene of a UFO crash site is a recurring theme when studying the Roswell incident. Barney Barnett had also reported the presence of archaeologists. Researchers such as Kevin Randle, Tom Carey and Don Schmitt began to comb through dig records and university archives to contact any archaeologists who may have been working in New Mexico in early July of 1947, the time period associated with the crashed saucer. They wanted to reach them to see if any of them had ever seen any such crash sites in NM during that time period. They were able to interview many of those who were still living.


While considering various archaeologists, researchers uncovered Harvard-trained Dr Herbert Dick. Dick was a noted archaeologist who passed away in 1992. Some years before his death however, he was located and questioned. Dick categorically denied that he had ever worked around the Plains of San Augustin region in July of 1947. Dick had told researchers he had not been there, telling one of them, "If I knew anything I would have told you." One of his dig party, Jeff Morris, also denied it. These denials were reported in early 1990's issues of the publication IUR – International UFO Reporter and elsewhere.

It turns out though that Dick had lied to these researchers when he was interviewed by them. In 2006 a revealing letter was uncovered by researcher Art Campbell. Campbell has been active in the UFO field for decades, including with NICAP. He is the author of "UFO Crash at San Augustin" and maintains the UFO Crash Book website. The documents that he discovered confirm that Dick had not told the truth. Dick was in fact at the Plains at the very time that he said that he was not.


Campbell recently shared with me the correspondence that Dick had sent to his graduate advisor at Harvard at the time. By working with the Peabody Museum of Harvard University (from which Dick graduated with his PhD), copies of these letters were obtained. A December 1947 letter confirms that Dick had indeed conducted site investigations in the Plains specifically during the weeks of July 1-14, 1947. In the letter – and in direct contradiction to what he had repeatedly told researchers – Dick clearly states that: "Our party proceeded to the Plains of San Augustin on July 1, 1947...we spent two weeks carefully contouring, mapping and trenching."


And Dick must have remembered this time period well. This is because in other letters that he authored that were discovered, we learn that he had vied for that very dig trip and time frame against a competing student. He even wrote his graduate advisor on why he should be selected over his competitor to go to New Mexico. If Dick could clinch permission from Harvard Administration for this dig on the Plains during early July, he knew that it would propel him above his competing colleagues at Harvard. In fact, it did. That very work set the course for a very notable professional career.


Dick curiously mentions the "Bat Cave" during his expedition there. Smaller caves near the "Bat Cave" are rumored to have held some of the crash debris reportedly hidden by a rancher, Dan Richards.


A thorough search of records finds that no other group of archaeologists were working on the Plains in early July of 1947 except Herbert Dick and party – and Dick lied that he was even there. Lies are used to cover up the truth by those who wish to evade it. To have ever spoken of the event, Dick may have felt that he could have risked a security breach, his own professional advancement, future professional credibility, award of grant monies or – later in life – damage to his impressive professional legacy.


Dick's unqualified denials cannot be chalked up to the possibility that Dick had somehow "forgotten" or "confused" the dates. Dick's denial was instead intentional. It was meant to deceive. This was his very first major archaeological expedition. It was one that he coveted and for which he had competed – and the one which careened his career. And Dick was an historical thinker. By his nature – and as an archaeologist – he was the type who gave careful attention to dates and details. But his accuracy did not extend to his recounting of the crash event on the Plains.


Here is part of this revealing letter that confirms Dick's presence on the Plains:

Of course the site closer to Roswell also claims its own involved archaeologist, Dr. Curry Holden. Holden was implicated in the discovery of a UFO crash site associated directly with the Roswell event. But Holden was in a different region of New Mexico when he made his discovery. Is it possible that the crash at that time involved very far-flung materials within the State? Could two different dig parties have located two separate (or maybe related) crashed UFO debris sites? Perhaps so. For who else but people like archaeologists and paleontologists or rock hunters and ranchers roam the remote New Mexican deserts to find such things?


Herbert Dick letter,
provided by Peabody Museum
(click to enlarge)
Major Jesse Marcel


In an email to this author, Roswell Major Jesse Marcel's daughter-in-law (Linda Marcel) confirmed that at the end of his life Jesse had spoken of another crash site with bodies. And a careful re-reading of a transcript by this author of one of the very first recorded interviews of Intelligence Officer Marcel is revealing. Marcel makes a cryptic mention of another, similar site that was found much farther away and to the west of the site that he had investigated. He said that a "surveyor" there had also come across UFO crash debris! Marcel may well have been alluding to surveyor Barney Barnett.


Jesse Marcel Sr. (who testified that he had witnessed and handled ET debris near Roswell) told his family that there was more than one "Roswell" related crash site. He also confirmed that – through an entrusted source – he had learned there were in fact recovered bodies at another site.


This revelation was made to me in an email dated September 02, 2007 from Linda Marcel. Linda was Jesse Marcel Sr.'s daughter-in-law and wife to Jesse's son, Jesse Jr. She wrote to me in part: "As far as we know, Jesse Sr. never saw any bodies. I asked him and he told me no. He said that he was at the 'first' crash site and that there were no bodies. He said though that he did know someone who did see the bodies. He said that it was someone he trusts. He never said who."


We learn more about this – and its potential tie to Barnett – in one of the first interviews that Marcel ever granted on the Roswell subject. The late reporter and UFO researcher Bob Pratt conducted a recorded interview with Jesse Marcel, Sr. on December 8, 1978. Pratt found Marcel to be "a very impressive man and quite believable."


Buried within a transcript of this interview of Marcel were some very revealing statements that were found by this author. In a response to a question, a little more than half-way into the interview, Marcel states that well west from the site that he himself had encountered, that there was another similar site that was located. Marcel said: "And I learned later that, farther west, towards Carrizozo they found something like that too...80 miles west of there..."


Pratt then asks Marcel just who it was that "saw something similar out there?" Marcel replied: "I think that it was discovered by some surveyor out there."


Well, of course Barney's crash event was located "farther west" to Marcel's when Barney saw "something similar" to what was found near Roswell. But most tellingly, Barney Barnett was a surveyor for the US Soil Conservation Service! When Marcel mentioned a surveyor, did he mean Barney?


What is not well known is that the primary duty of Barney's job for the US Government was to perform land surveying. In fact most of his time was designated to such surveying activity. He delineated and established property lines, outlined the parameters of civil and land projects, and he created markers for towns in the region. Barney could often be seen at the County Surveyor office consulting survey records. Barney also performed civil projects inspections.


It is of significance too that Marcel said to Pratt that he had heard that they had found something similar at the other site. Marcel uses the plural "they," but then he specifically mentions a surveyor. Of course Barney Barnett was a surveyor who found a site that others did. Marcel somehow knew that this surveyor was not alone, but was part of a group (perhaps of archaeologists or military) when the other site was located.


So here we have Marcel himself confirming that there was another site. And he indicates that – like Barney's discovery – it was located many miles away and much further west from the site that Marcel himself had investigated. Marcel told his daughter-in-law that (as at the Barnett location) there were bodies found at that site. He said that the other crash event was similar to what had happened closer to Roswell. And most remarkably, Marcel said that the "other site" was found by people including someone that he had specifically described as "a surveyor". Was Jesse referring to Barney?


We may never know conclusively. In what may have been his last recorded interview before he died, Marcel admitted to researcher Linda Corley: "There is a hell of a lot that I haven't said for the sake of my country."



Is there a way to reconcile all of the different sites into one authentic account of the events at Roswell and elsewhere in New Mexico in the summer of 1947? The Foster Ranch site is confirmed, another more interesting site is hinted at – and now there is the likelihood of even another site, much farther away. The sometimes vehement disagreement between noted UFO researchers on the "Barney Barnett" issue only impedes the search for answers.

We must all agree that the specific number of crash sites – and the precise location of each – may never be conclusively resolved. We must remain open to various scenarios. As rancher Loretta Proctor (who

Road to the Foster Ranch

saw some of the debris that rancher Mac Brazel took to her) told me, the craft may have "skipped" or "leaked" several times and that there was more than one location. She says that she doesn't have "all of the answers" but she allows that "maybe there were even two separate UFOs that crashed during roughly the same time."


Perhaps the crash event near Roswell and the one at the Plains were the result of two distinctly different UFOs that had fallen not precisely at the same time, but very close to the same time. Or maybe they were more intimately related. Possibly they were crashes from the same "skipping" or "shedding" saucer. This would have involved a highly-energetic craft with multiple "compartments" that fell in stages and pieces far and wide in New Mexico. But whatever the exact scenario, Barney Barnett likely fits into the equation...somehow.

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