Monday, April 11, 2005

George Bowra & the Aztec "Incident"

Scott Ramsey claims to have found over 60 "witnesses" to the alleged crash of a flying saucer near Aztec, New Mexico, in March, 1948. So far, he has only made five known to the public; I have dealt with each of them either here (see Fred Reed blog) or at UFO Updates.

For the edification of those who might, perhaps understandably, have the impression from all of this that everyone out in Aztec agrees that there was a flying saucer crash, it should be noted that the majority (the vast majority, I would suggest) have always been convinced that the whole thing was just a hoax / con.

Take, for example, a "witness" that probably isn't on Scott's list - George Bowra, who in 1948 was the editor of the local Aztec newspaper, the Independent Review (he was also a Deputy Sheriff, and an accomplished poet, winning the Outstanding Contemporary Poet Award in 1939 from New York's Literary Publications). Here is what he told researcher Mike McLellan back in 1975, for an article on Aztec that McLellan wrote for Official UFO (October 1975):

"From my conversation with him, he impressed me as one who must have been a colorful individual. He recalled a tongue-in-cheek article he had written for the newspaper years ago descibing his abduction by little green men from space.

Bowra has been in Aztec for 70 years. He ran the paper for 44 years. 'Nobody could have gotten in there and out (Hart Canyon) without attracting a lot of attention. Its rough country and there's only one highway in there.' Bowra stated emphatically that the roads had never been cordoned by anyone. He became interested enough in the story to speak with what he estimates to be over one hundred people including cowboys, Indians, lawmen and ranchers. None of them recalls the UFO landing or subsequent military movement.

If anyone had motive to make good use of the Aztec story, Mr. Bowra would head the list. Instead, no sensational accounts of the landing appeared in the paper. Had the story been true, no newsman worth his salt would have passed up such an opportunity!"

An article in the Albuquerque Journal on May 16, 1998, shed a bit more light on Bowra and the Aztec story. It quoted Bob Weaver, president of the Aztec Museum's Board of Directors, as saying that Bowra did indeed write a report of a crash, but as a joke.

"I don't remember the year, I just remember what he told me," Weaver said. "He said it would be fun to put something like that in the paper. Everybody pretty much knew he did these things and nobody thought anything about it."

Of course, the fact that Bowra neither saw nor heard of anything about an Aztec crash, and the fact that he pulled a little flying saucer crash joke, don't prove, in of and themselves, that a crash didn't happen, as the Aztec proponents would no doubt point out.

The interesting thing, however, is that they will do so only after you point out Bowra's account (and those of many, many others in Aztec who say pretty much the same thing) to them first. Even then, their response has little to do with evidence. Take William Steinman's "rebuttal" to the McClellan article - "The only investigation apparent is that the author read a lot of media information in the popular press, no more." This despite the fact that McLellan interviewed several "old timers" from Aztec, and referenced interviews conducted by other researchers.

But that's the Aztec story. To paraphrase David Farragut, "Damn the evidence, full speed ahead!"

Paul Kimball


RRRGroup said...


You squelcher of dreams and fantasies!

Our friend, and colleague Frank Warren is going to be upset with you for your pertinent input here.

Ah, but that's what ufology is all about, isn't it -- debunking the mythologies and con-jobs, and showing that no one has, to date, gotten their hands on a flying disk, either from a crash or from the vaults of the U.S. military.

But hope springs eternal...for some anyway.

Rich Reynolds

Paul Kimball said...


Me? A debunker?

Only if you ask David Rudiak, or Wendy Connors.

Myths and fantasies and hoaxes need to be exposed - once they're out of the way, the real truth may emerge. As long as they're around, however, the truth will never be known.


Anonymous said...

I knew George Bowra well. His sence of humor was outstanding, he could be trusted to the end. He taught me to roll a cigarette at 5 years old. A little word play with a fictious story would not be out side of his joy as a writer. If he said he could not find anyone who saw this incident he was telling you the truth. He was also telling the truth when he said he did not see it, not that it did not take place. He knew everyone who lived in the Aztec area, if it was news worthy he would publish in in the Aztec Independant Review.
Any comment found by his wife Wilma? or his brother? Those would be worthy searches.