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Roswell Incident investigator discusses misinformation

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Donald Schmitt, right, is a leading investigator into the 1947 “Roswell Incident” crash. He is shown Friday with Charles I. Halt, another of the speakers in the UFOlogist Invasion series at the International UFO Museum and Research Center. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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A UFO investigator’s work often entails filtering out what Donald Schmitt calls “false flags,” misleading or fraudulent information and artifacts used to deter investigations or pull a hoax for profit or fun.

Schmitt is a researcher and author well-known in UFO circles who has worked extensively on the 1947 crash known as the “Roswell Incident.”

He talked about what he calls the many deceptions, red herrings and misinformation campaigns he has encountered in his career during a Saturday morning presentation that was part of the UFOlogist Invasion speaker series coordinated by the International UFO Museum and Research Center for the 2021 UFO Festival.

Five people are scheduled to speak today starting at 9 a.m. as the UFO Festival and series conclude.

Schmitt reviewed several episodes that involved the 1947 incident that decades later gave rise to the UFO Museum and the UFO Festival.

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To Schmitt, the “orchestrated” misinformation campaign began with the U.S. Army press release about the recovery of a “flying saucer” and the subsequent photo shoot of what military officials said was instead a recovered weather balloon.

Schmitt said the U.S. Army had plenty of time to come up with a plan to mislead the news media and the public by the time the press release was issued on July 8.

“Washington already had (some) debris in hand by late Sunday evening July 6,” he said. “Plenty of time to put this together.”

He said the photo of military officers handling an object made of wooden sticks, tape and foil showed “off-the-shelf material a 5-year-old child would have recognized.”

He expresses wonderment that most people were satisfied with the explanation that aviators and other military personnel involved in the atomic bomb program and stationed at Walker Army Air Base had mistaken the object for a “flying saucer.”

Schmitt also talked about artifacts, documents and personal recollections related to other UFO or extraterrestrial sightings that he said have been proven false, with Schmitt saying that some people have made a lot of money from the falsehoods.

He expressed his frustrations that misinformation means researchers lose time and, sometimes, the ability to find or interview potential witnesses before they pass away.

“It isn’t all linear. It isn’t all in a straight line. It isn’t where you can piece this all together in one fell swoop,” he said. “There are a lot of distractions, a lot of diversions, a lot of false flags.”

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.