The UFO world has been abuzz with the alleged discovery of slides from around 1947 that researchers suspected depicted an alien body from the famous alleged Roswell UFO crash. However, within hours of the release of the images, independent researchers were able to decipher a blurry placard in the image, and according to the placard, the body is a mummified boy. Not an alien.
At first the researchers purporting the slides to depict an alien were defensive about the new findings. However, now several of them have examined the process used to decipher the placard, and now agree that the placard does indeed label the body a mummy. Only a few researchers are holding out, some of which are claiming the new placard interpretation to be a hoax. However, we at Open Minds have also reproduced the placard deblurring, and confirmed the work of the independent researchers.
On May 6, 2015 we wrote a story about the unveiling of the pictures. It was done with great fanfare at a large auditorium on Mexico City. The event was hosted by Jaime Maussan, a Mexican UFO researcher and journalist known for his dramatic style. Most of the event was in Spanish, and attendees had to buy tickets to attend. For $20 viewers were also able to view the event via a stream on the internet. However, many complained that the streaming service was spotty and often froze up.
There was also some confusion about the slides themselves. It was advertised that there were two slides. However, only one was discussed. Most thought that the second slide was not presented. However, as we noted in an update in our story, the second slide was displayed at the end, but this fact was not noted in the presentation.
Amidst the confusion, Maussan posted the second image to his twitter account. However, the image was less clear than the first, and the placard could only be partially seen. The owner of the slides, Adam Dew, promised to post a higher resolution image of the second slide.
Meanwhile, enterprising UFO researchers got to work. Kind of like a crowd sourcing effort, people began looking for similar mummified bodies, and others got to work trying to deblur low resolution images of the placard.
Phillip Mantle, a UK UFO researcher and editor of UFO Today, who had done a lot of research regarding a hoaxed UFO video referred to as the “Roswell Alien Autopsy,” began contacting anthropologists to get their expert opinions on the body. On Podcast UFO, he told the host, Martin Willis, that he had learned that contacting independent experts was important, because those trying to promote their point of view can be biased and find experts that support their views.
In an interview with OpenMinds.tv, Dew had expressed that most of the experts he spoke with had determined the body was human, but he was not satisfied with their answers.
As Dew had discovered, Mantle’s experts believed the body was a mummified child. Mantle says most experts did not want to go on the record, but a couple did.
Salima Ikram, Professor of Egyptology at American University in Cairo, said, “I confirm that the photo is of a mummy of a child, possibly Peruvian or even Egyptian.”
Director of the Egyptian Mummies in North America (EMINA) Project S. J. Wolfe, told Mantle, “Okay, it is a mummy, but very hard to tell if it Egyptian, South American or European. I see no wrappings of any kind, it appears to be a child or youth.”
Maussan had sent me an email asking me to post comments from his experts, but he never sent me their comments. One of the problems with the evidence and research that was conducted by the group who believed the slides were anomalous was that they did not distribute and communicate their research well or thoroughly. Normally research efforts such as this produce a paper that outlines their discoveries. Neglecting to do so leaves researchers to do their own investigation, which is exactly what happened.
Either way, whatever the experts had to say may be moot given the discovery of a group calling themselves The “Roswell Slides” Research Group (RSRG). Using a tool called SmartDeblur, members of the group begun to be able to decipher some of the words on the placard.
The RSRG says they began working with a higher quality image than had been released publicly that they had received from an inside source. However, eventually, Dew himself released the same photo. What clearly became visible was the title line on the placard. It reads: “MUMMIFIED BODY OF TWO YEAR OLD BOY.” All in capital letters.
It took a lot of work to decipher the rest of the words, but the group now believes that the rest of the slide reads: “At the time of the burial the body was clothed in a slip-over cotton shirt. Burial wrappings consisted of three small blankets.”
The last line reads: “Loaned by Mr. S. L. Palmer, San Francisco, California.”
Immediately, Maussan and Dew claimed that the photo RSRG was working with was a fake. Roswell researchers Don Schmitt and Tom Carey were also doubtful. After all, their experts were not able to discover this, and it only took the RSRG group less than 48 hours.
Curt Collins and a man that goes by Isaac Koi in the UFO Updates Facebook group are members of the RSRG, and they were posting the majority of the discoveries. I actually came to find this all out later, as I was on a cruise without internet or cell phone access all last week while most of this work was going on.
However, I know these two to be careful and credible researchers. I contacted them to find out the procedure they had used to deblur the image so I could reproduce the results myself. It turns out that Isaac Koi had posted instructions on the Above Top Secret Forum, and many had followed them and came up with the same results. So did I, and I used the placard image from Dew’s website.
One criticism is that in order to deblur the image, RSRG recommends that people download what is called a blur kernel that a member of their group created. With help from Collins and Koi, I contacted the man who created the file. He is French and goes by the name Nab Lator.
What he described to me was a bit technical, but having caught wind of what they were doing before I left, I had download SmartDeblur and played with it while on my trip. So I knew a bit about what he was talking about.
I had learned that there is a little black box on SmartDeblur that you can manipulate and it will help you deblur the image. I played with it a bit on my trip, but I did not have time to adjust it enough to make the image very clear. However, Lator did take the time, and after hours of trial and error, he discovered the right blur kernel to make the image more readable. He posted the explanation of how he did on his website.
By now others have deblurred the image without Lator’s blur kernel, and some used different deblurring programs, all with similar results.
In fact, one of the people able to reproduce the deblurring is one of the researchers who had been asked to help before the general public was aware of the slides. His name is Anthony Bragalia, an he has been a vehement supporter of the idea that the slides depict an alien. However, once he was able to reproduce the deblurring, he sent out a public apology on May 10, 2015, conceding that the alien was actually a mummy. He also shared several other important discoveries about the identification of the mummy in the picture.
Kevin Randle, another Roswell researcher, who has distanced himself from this whole affair, and predicted that the whole thing would not end well, posted Bragalia’s apology and findings.
Bragalia says that with the help of a colleague from Europe, they discovered an article from a National Parks Service publication called the Mesa Verde Notes. This article was from September 1938 and it discusses a mummy “returned” to the park by “Mr. S. L. Palmer of San Francisco.”
Others have since discovered that the museum in Mesa Verde has similar placards, similar displays, and similar furniture as can be seen in the Roswell Slides.
Bragalia also explained why their research prior to the big reveal in Mexico City had been hampered. According to Bragalia, Dew is responsible. He believes Dew has been withholding the highest resolution scans of the slides.
Bragalia writes, “I can only surmise that Mr. Adam Dew did not provide to these experts the highest-resolution images of the slides. Why he did not, I cannot be certain. But Adam Dew has to this very day not yet publicly provided the crystal-clear slide images that I know exist.”
Given the new findings, Schmitt also sent out an apology which was also posted by Randle. Schmitt wrote, “I now realize that the image in the slides is a mummy as specified by the display placard.”
Maussan, Carey, and Dew have not said they have changed their minds. In fact, Maussan is staunchly supporting the alien theory, and calls the deblurring a hoax. It does not appear that he has followed the instructions to reproduce the effect himself.
Dew had written me before I left on my trip saying he would answer any questions I had. However, he has not responded to me since I have returned and have reproduced the deblurring myself. Although, he did say he might be busy, so he may yet get back to me.
The big question is where is the mummy now? Maussan says without producing the mummy, the mummy theory cannot be confirmed.
Several more documents have been discovered about the mummy, including an article written in 1940 by S. L. Palmer about the discovery of the mummy. According to the article, the mummy was found at Montezuma’s Castle in 1896.
Other documents refer to the mummy spending time at the Montezuma Castle Museum and Mesa Verde Museum. Others believe it also spent some time at the Million Dollar Museum in New Mexico.
However, Maussan might not be getting his proof positive image, because it is possible that this mummified boy’s remains was one of hundreds that were reburied in 1998.
According to a Rocky Mountain News story that was republished in the Deseret News, thousands of remains were returned to the descendants of the Anasazi in 1998 to be reburied.
According to the Rocky Mountain News, “[The 1998 reburial] will mark the end of five years of negotiations between descendants of the Anasazi and the Mesa Verde National Park, where some of the skeletons had been publicly displayed as late as 1990.”
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Charles Peterson, chief ranger at Mesa Verde. “The remains should be buried with the same reverence and the same ceremonial honor others would receive.”
That isn’t stopping members of the RSRG from digging for more information. By the time I finish this story, they will probably have made more discoveries.
No doubt there will be those who will continue to believe the image in the slides are alien. Perhaps if there are higher resolution images available, as Bragalia claims, the issue will be put to rest.
Although this whole affair has been viewed by many as a black eye for the researchers who purported the slides to show an alien, researchers are used to putting their neck out there in search for the truly anomalous. There were some researchers like Nick Redfern (seen below) and Bryce Zabel, who were approached to be part of the research earlier, but they just did not see anything good coming of it.
Zabel explained why he turned the offer down: “Partly it was because the photos, while strange, odd and disturbing, weren’t the smoking gun I felt they needed to be without substantial on-the-record expert work being done, and mostly because the plan to roll them out to the public struck me as wrong-headed.”
Zabel chose wisely. He continued, “I think this is a cautionary tale about how many of us want to believe so much we lose access to our critical faculties when it comes to analyzing evidence.”