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One of the six New Mexicans directly affected by the crash of what was first called a UFO, then a weather balloon, shares memories of the event 50 years ago

Loretta Proctor, 82
"To my way of thinking, if we're here why can't somebody else be out there?"
Loretta and Floyd Proctor raised sheep and cattle on a ranch southeast of Corona in 1947. Their nearest neighbor was W.W. "Mac" Brazel, a leaseholder on the Foster ranch, about six miles away.
"I don't remember just exactly what day it was but it was just before the Fourth of July and Mac Brazel came by our house and he had a small fragment of this material he showed us. He wanted us to go down and look at what he had found. Back then, it was just after the war and you didn't have tires and you didn't have very good vehicles or gasoline and there was no roads out there. We didn't try to go.
"We told him it was possibly a UFO. Back then, people were seeing a lot of things and reporting them. There were a lot of things up in the air. We called them flying saucers back then. We heard there was possibly rewards out for a UFO if anybody found one, so he went to Roswell and reported it. They kept him down there I guess right close to a week.
"What he brought up and showed to us was like a lightweight wood. ... It was six or seven inches long and a little bigger around than a pencil. He and my husband, they tried to cut on it and they tried to burn it and it didn't make any mark or anything. It was different from anything we had ever seen.
"He described the other material back there. He said it was like an aluminum-type material that looked like aluminum foil and when you'd crush it it would straighten back out. It wouldn't wrinkle. He described some kind of tape and then there was some part of it that had some purplish pink figures on it. He said it wasn't Japanese or it wasn't writing like he knew anything about.
"After Mac Brazel came back from Roswell, why, we asked him what it was. He said 'well, they say it was a weather balloon, but if I ever find anything else nobody will ever know it.' And that's all he would say about it. He wouldn't talk."
Proctor, now widowed, has moved off the family ranch to a house closer to town. She is helping to put together a display on the 1947 crash for the Corona museum.
And she still looks at the sky.
"To my way of thinking, if we're here why can't somebody else be out there?"

All their stories:

  • "To my way of thinking, if we're here why can't somebody else be out there?" Loretta Proctor, 82.
  • "The first or second of July, the radar screen lit up." Frank Kaufmann, 80
  • "He said he needed caskets about 3-foot-6 or 4 feet, hermetically sealed baby caskets." Glenn Dennis, 72
  • "He told me that he wanted me to put out a press release which in effect stated that we had in our possession a crashed flying saucer." Walter Haut, 74
  • "They were carrying boxes of strange-looking material." Robert Shirkey, 74
  • "The phone started ringing. I took the story off the wire and read it (on the air) as a bulletin a couple of times." Frank Joyce, 74

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    Copyright © 1997 Albuquerque Journal