Alleged UFO Fragment Unveiled University of California chemist claims tests on a small chunk of purported crash debris prove it is not of earthly origin
By Leslie Linthicum Journal Staff Writer
ROSWELL -- A chemist, a movie producer and a hypnotherapist announced Friday they have obtained and tested a piece of debris from the 1947 Roswell crash and determined it is "of extraterrestrial origin."
A 50th anniversary prank? No, the men say. They are serious about finding "the proof" everyone has been looking for.
But after dropping the bombshell they say is the UFO equivalent of finding the Holy Grail, no one involved would answer questions about their evidence, methodology or origin of the alleged piece of debris.
A researcher says this 1-inch wide object is debris from the Roswell crash, and that tests prove it has come from out of this world. The red line running through it is from a lighted pointer.
Russell VernonClark, who said he has a doctorate in chemistry from the University of California, San Diego, told an auditorium packed with dozens of reporters and photographers and hundreds of UFO believers on the campus of the New Mexico Military Institute that he performed tests on an unidentified fragment and found startling results: The material's atomic makeup was so different from that of any known earthly matter that he concluded it was extraterrestrial.
"The atomic mass so differs from that found in known earthly elements," VernonClark said, "that it is impossible for it to be from Earth."
VernonClark, who identified himself as an environmental health and safety specialist in the school's department of chemistry, said the fragment was 99 percent pure silicon with traces of nickel, silver, germanium and zinc, with ratios of protons and neutrons that differ dramatically from those that naturally occur in those elements on Earth.
After the presentation concluded, VernonClark sped out a side door, leaving a comet's tail of questions. The university's Internet Web site shows a listing for a Russell VernonClark, who is not a professor but is employed in the department of chemistry and biochemistry.
The Roswell Incident has been the victim of hoaxes before. There was the alien autopsy, which was discredited when Hollywood makeup artists recreated it on video. Last year brought Penthouse magazine photos of the alien autopsy, which turned out to be photos of the props used in the Showtime movie "Roswell." And the last piece of purported alien aircraft was revealed last year to be a piece of metal from a Utah jeweler's shop.
Debate about this latest "evidence" was the talk of the town Friday, as Roswell's Fourth of July population swelled with big-time crowds of visitors and locals happy to eat, shop and breathe aliens during this 50th anniversary celebration.
UFOlogist Michael Lindeman, founder of the online Institute for the Study of Contact with Non-human Intelligence, called the claim "extraordinary, if true."
"The fact is that it is possible to alter isotopic ratios," said Lindeman. "It is possible someone went to an extraordinary length to produce a very elaborate hoax."
Paul Davids, executive producer of the "Roswell" movie and spokesman for the "discovery," was cornered after the presentation by a swell of the some 500 reporters, photographers and producers sent here to cover the 50th anniversary celebration.
The piece, which appears on a videotape to look like a shiny charcoal briquet, was nowhere in sight at the presentation.
"You've seen what we've offered," said Davids. "Please," he said, "accept what you've been offered."
Why didn't they produce the actual chunk of rock?
Security reasons, Davids said.
"The evidence is so sensitive, so unique, that it's being treated like the Moon Rock. When you have one sample and one sample only, the risks are just too great. This is as rare as the Shroud of Turin."
Davids would not name the other research institutions he said performed the tests. "We can't say," said Davids. "This is so controversial that men's reputations have been ruined over their seriously making these conclusions."
Nor would he say who produced the object and how he could know that the object, if indeed unearthly, came from the crashed Roswell ship.
The object was given to Derrell Simms, a certified hypnotherapist, who would not identify the person, but said he or she told him it came from the Roswell crash site.
Dr. Jesse Marcel Jr., whose father was an Air Force lieutenant colonel who brought some of the debris home after the Air Force cleanup of the crash in 1947, said the chunk looked like what he saw when he was a surprised 11-year-old.
Chuck Wade, an engineer from Gallup, listened to the presentation and Marcel's testimony with rapt attention. Wade grew up in Corona, and his father owned the bar that rancher Mac Brazel visited after he found the debris. Wade grew up hearing his father's tales of Brazel's discovery.
After seeing a slide presentation and a videotape of the object that is said to came from Corona, Wade was wide-eyed, if not totally convinced.
"I think it's fascinating," Wade said. "I think it's just fascinating."
Max Littell, one of the founders of the International UFO Museum & Research Center, said Roswell has seen evidence of the crash before. "We have followed many leads and the last one was the jewelry incident," Littell said. "You just have to look at them as you go. We never know if you've got trash or treasure."