THE ROSWELL UNDERTAKER'S SECRET REVEALED
(originally published Dec 2008)
For years, embalmer Glenn Dennis has told an intriguing Roswell crash tale. If true, it leaves no doubt that what fell to Earth in July of 1947 in the New Mexico sands was from another world. However, Glenn's story has been disputed by researchers as having serious difficulties. Today, some have all but dismissed his purported involvement in the crash events.
But new interviews and information show that the undertaker's amazing story may well have a basis in fact. And a fresh look may have uncovered the possible identity of the "missing nurse" at the Roswell base who decades ago revealed to Glenn the alien reality of the crash.
Glenn Dennis could only happen in a place like New Mexico. His top shirt button always clasped, he often wore a bolo tie. His frame was lanky but always upright – standing at least two feet taller than desert brush. A marvel of shortened hyperbole, tongue-in-cheek cusses and flirtations – this is how family remembers Glenn.
Glenn Dennis died in April 2015. But in July of 1947, he was an energetic young man of 22, busily employed as a Mortuary Assistant for the Ballard Funeral Home in Roswell, NM. Ballard's had a long-standing contract with the Roswell military base to provide ambulance and mortuary services….
Dennis signed an affidavit two decades ago in which he outlined some very unusual events that he experienced that summer of 1947. He maintained that he had received a strange call while at Ballard's from an officer at the Roswell base a short time after the Roswell crash. The officer was inquiring about the availability of hermetically-sealed baby caskets. Glenn was also questioned about body preservation methods. Dennis replied that he could provide the caskets – and that the best way to preserve the corpses would be to have them frozen. The officer also wanted to know about tissue and blood changes that might occur if bodies were out in the open, exposed to the elements. Curious about the odd call, Dennis asked the officer if something had happened at the base. He was told that the information was simply for "future reference."
Soon after, Dennis was summoned to the base to pick up an injured airman. He says that on his return, he viewed what appeared to be some very strange debris from some sort of wreckage. He saw the debris in the backs of base vehicles as he slowly and deliberately passed through a ramp exit. One of the debris pieces was "canoe shaped" and about three feet long. It appeared to have odd colored hues like burnt steel, but it was not steel. It had inscribed on it 3"-4" high "hieroglyphics" that ran in a pattern along the contour of the wreckage piece.
Glenn was spotted observing the material by an officer, who then stopped Glenn and loudly rebuked him. He demanded to know who Glenn was, why he was there and what else he may have seen. He told Dennis to say nothing of what he may have witnessed. Glenn told the officer to "Go to Hell." He was a civilian who would not be talked to in that manner. The officer then threatened "Don't kid yourself, they'll be picking your bones out of the sand!"
Glenn has said that Roswell's Sheriff George Wilcox made a visit to Glenn's father's house a couple of days later. Wilcox (a friend of Glenn's father) warned the elder Dennis to let Glenn know that he had better keep quiet about anything he may have known or seen at the base that day.
The part of Glenn's story that is the most controversial:
Glenn stated that while Sheriff Wilcox was at his father's, Glenn was actually returning to the base to see a nurse friend. He wanted to know if she had heard anything about all of this. They discussed what she knew over Cokes at a base dining area.
She told Glenn that she had earlier witnessed a horrific site. A doctor had pulled her into a room for assistance, where she viewed three strange "foreign bodies'" that were being examined. She became nauseated from the retching stench. She described to Glenn a classic alien humanoid form, which she drew on a napkin for Glenn.
The creature had an enlarged head, slit-like mouth with vestigial nose and ears, unusual eyes and elongated arms. Hysterical in the re-telling, the nurse then admonished Dennis to leave the base immediately. That is the last Dennis ever saw of her.
In the 1990s, holes began to emerge in Glenn's story. Glenn had given researchers the name of the Roswell base nurse as "Naomi Self" – which later proved to be a phony name. He also told conflicting stories about what had become of the nurse. He said that she had died in a plane crash, that she went to England, and even that she joined a convent. There are other problems with Glenn's story. He mentioned a doctor who he said was involved, but who was later proven could not have existed. It is rumored that Glenn may have asked for compensation for later interviews. And Glenn helped to establish the Roswell UFO Museum, which became a source of (modest) personal income for a brief period of time.
SUPPORT FOR GLENN
Despite all of this, there are several reasons why Glenn's tale should not be dismissed:
Supporting Glenn's story is the fact that he never sought to tell it. He was found. Researcher Stan Friedman first interviewed Glenn on August 5, 1989. Friedman found Glenn because Friedman had reasoned that the Roswell undertaker may have heard something about the incident. Only later did Dennis become public on the matter.
The former Chief of Police for Roswell, L. M. Hall, signed an affidavit in which he recalls that, just a few days after the July 1947 crash, Dennis had recounted to him the odd call from the base about the availability of child caskets.
A Roswell base medical technician in 1947, David Wagnon, signed an affidavit that he remembers the nurse as described by Dennis.
Glenn's grandson, Kelly Abbott, states on a family history website that Glenn told his Roswell story to his close family in the 1980s. This was after the first Roswell book was published in 1980, but before "all of the books and movies" had come out in the 1990s about the incident. He says "Papa told the story with the sense that it was about time someone knew what happened. This is before he had spoken publicly."
Glenn's high school classmate was Rogene Cordes. I recently found and contacted Rogene. She is the widow of an Air Force General and believes Glenn implicitly. She was also a neighbor of Roswell Sheriff George Wilcox. Mrs. Cordes says that she knows that Glenn was telling the truth. She is cautious in relating her knowledge, but she indicates that there are things about Glenn's story that she knows happened at the time, including the involvement of Sheriff Wilcox and the call to Glenn about ice for bodies. Rogene mentions that she could not find any ice or dry ice anywhere that crash weekend – not at Clardy's dairy nor at the train depot, which stored and sold dry ice. Glenn had told the base officer that the best way to preserve corpses was to freeze them. The military had found their ice.
A Roswell Army Air Field serviceman in 1947, Sgt. Milton Sprouse (who spent ten years in the military) distinctly remembers Glenn speaking of the event decades ago. Sprouse says that a few years after the crash, he saw Glenn at a mutual friend's funeral. Glenn brought up in conversation the base's strange call inquiring about the child caskets.
Glenn's close friend was Mollie Abramitis. Mollie recently related to me an extraordinary story. She was visiting New Mexico from her home in California in April of 1989. Glenn was managing the Wortley Hotel at the time. Glenn invited her and others for dinner. He then told a small group of close friends gathered at the hotel's dining room that he had an important story to tell them. It had been troubling him for a very long time. He felt compelled and ready to share it with them. He said that he was worried that the story had "gotten out" and he was concerned about approaches for interviews about the subject. He told Mollie and the others assembled at the Wortley the precise ET story that he told publicly much later. Mollie said that Glenn appeared genuinely concerned, even frightened. An ex-police officer at the table beseeched Glenn that he must speak out publicly and tell all that he knew – that it would be the best form of "personal protection". Glenn rarely drank. But this time, Mollie says, after he told his astonishing story, Glenn partook of some liquid courage.
Glenn's fraternal twin Bob Dennis (now deceased) was always reluctant to discuss his brother's story. Bob had a close friend named John Price. Bob explained to John that he was overseas in the military when the Roswell crash happened. But Bob and Glenn's father told Bob about it when he returned from the service. Bob said that his father was very good friends with Sheriff Wilcox. He said that Wilcox and his Deputy (Tommy Thompson) did in fact come to the house and warned their father to make sure that Glenn said nothing of the event. It is likely that the Dennis brothers' father was told much more about the crash event by his Sheriff friend. This is because Bob Dennis said that his father made him promise to never reveal any details about the event. Bob kept that promise to his death, always saying that it was Glenn's story to tell.
The 1947 Roswell Fire Chief's son was identified and contacted by me recently. Rue was living in the Roswell area at the time of the crash and knew Dennis, as did his father. He stated sparingly, and not wishing to elaborate, that "everything that Glenn says happened."
GLENN'S MISSING NURSE – FOUND?
Glenn's "nurse friend" has never been conclusively identified. Glenn did not provide researchers with her real name, if she existed. But then again...she just may have. Reexamination of old documents – and the confessions of a Roswell family – reveal that there are two very likely candidates:
Eileen (Adeline) Fanton was a 1st Lieutenant who was very briefly attached to the Roswell Army Airfield Station Hospital as a General Nurse – from December 26, 1946 until September 4, 1947:
According to military records, Lt. Eileen Fanton (single) was 5'1" and 100 pounds, with dark hair and eyes, and of Italian descent. Dennis described the nurse that he had known as "small like Audrey Hepburn, with short black hair, dark eyes and olive skin."
Fanton was a graduate of a Catholic academy and Catholic nursing school. Glenn said that his nurse was "raised as a strict Catholic."
Fanton is confirmed to have later served a tour duty in England. Dennis had mentioned England as one of the places he thought that the nurse may have relocated.
Fanton was educated by nuns. Dennis has offered an alternate story that he had heard that the nurse had later become a nun. Fanton left the Roswell base weeks after her meeting with Glenn. She was admitted to a hospital for a reputed "D&C" abortion procedure. She retired from military service in 1955 and was never located to be questioned. She is believed deceased.
Ms. Miriam Bush: In July of 1947, Miriam Bush was a single 27 year old woman who, according to records and family, was employed by the Roswell base. Though not a "nurse", she was a medical secretary in base hospital services.
Like the "nurse" that Glenn described, Miriam was smallish and attractive, with black, short-cut hair and dark eyes.
Glenn had offered the fake name of "Naomi Self" as the identity of his missing nurse. "Miriam" may well be an anagram of sorts for "Naomi." Both "Miriam" and "Naomi" have the same length of letters, as do the last names "Bush" and "Self."
Amazingly (according to her brother George, her sister Jean and her sister-in-law Patricia), Miriam would arrive at her parents home one day after work in the Summer of 1947. She was tearful and in shock. She had described to her family a horrible event that had occurred earlier that day. She was pulled into a base hospital room by a doctor who wanted her to be aware of something. She sickened as her eyes cast upon "little bodies" on gurneys in the middle of the room. These bodies were childlike but they were not children. They were strange – with massive heads and eyes that were not at all right. She told her family that she begged God to let her forget the sight.
Traumatized, Miriam would flee New Mexico shortly thereafter and go to California where she remained for years without communicating with those back home. Alcoholic, Miriam would commit suicide at the end of 1989. 1989 is the very year that Glenn "went public" with his Roswell story.
Glenn mixed misdirection with truth. He used storytelling devices to hide or obfuscate identities. His concern for protecting privacy was in conflict with his desire to get out the story. He saw others making money on the story and – ever the businessman – thought he'd make some profit as well. He may have injected some imagination into history to awaken interest. Perhaps he did it to supplement a story where the real facts could not be obtained.
It could even be that Glenn himself was not the "involved" one, but was covering for another. Or it may be that his father had confided to Glenn the story that he had learned from friend Sheriff George Wilcox. It must also be remembered that flirtatious Glenn was a newlywed with an expectant and homebound wife at the time of the Roswell crash. His "relationship" with the nurse may have been more than casual – another possible reason for his evasiveness.
Whatever the case, there can be no doubt that there is a true – but hidden – "core story" somewhere to be found within Glenn's fascinating tale.
Perhaps Kelly Abbott, Glenn's grandson, best sums up the Roswell undertaker's tale: "While it's true that his heart may have always been in the right place, his brain often got him in trouble. To many who've lived their lives and will die in Roswell, Glenn was their undertaker. Trust in him is a given. To those of us who know him better, the truth of the matter is far more complicated."