The diary of one of the first men on the scene at the Roswell UFO crash could unlock secrets from the 74-year-old alien mystery.
A former CIA operative is probing a diary thought to be written in code which could finally unlock the baffling Roswell UFO mystery.
Ben Smith has been tasked with leading a new investigation to determine once and for all what crashed into the sands of New Mexico nearly 75 years ago.
And he has told the Sun Online a journal written by a US army major – who was first on the scene – may hold the secrets to what has been described as the biggest cover-up in US military history.
Ben has been working with geologists, handwriting experts, code-crackers and ufologists for a new six-part documentary called Roswell: The First Witness which begins on February 9 as part of Sky History’s “Mystery Season”.
Speaking exclusively to the Sun Online, Mr Smith said: “I had heard rumors about this journal and I wanted to be part of this investigation…it sounded exciting.
“The diary could mean everything. If you are a historian, this is a primary document you want to study.
“If you are a former intelligence officer, like myself, this is a first-hand account of potentially what happened, written by the man himself.”
On July 8, 1947 the Roswell Army Air Field distributed a press release claiming the wreckage of a “flying disc” had been recovered after crashing in the desert.
Not surprisingly, the news made headlines across America – but the next day the army backtracked and released a second statement saying the recovered object was just a weather balloon.
The incident would have been lost over the decades had it not been for Major Jesse A Marcel, a former intelligence officer who was stationed at the air field at the time.
When a local rancher reported the discovery of the debris, Major Marcel was sent out to take a look and bring some of the material back to the base before being ordered to fly some of the wreckage to Fort Worth, Texas for further examination.
However, in the late ’70s, he told UFO researchers that photos of him with the debris were staged as part of an elaborate plan to dupe the press and the public.
He claimed the army whisked the real debris away while he was ordered to aid in the cover-up of what was really found.
Major Marcel claimed the actual crash site was scattered with extremely strong, shiny material that was foil-like but returned to its original shape after it was crumpled.
He later told his family what he found was “not made by human hands” but they say he was pressured by the US government to retract his original statement and deny he ever saw evidence of a UFO.
Now his diary – which has been in the hands of his family for decades – is at the center of Mr Smith’s investigation as he attempts to unlock its secrets.
He told The Sun Online: “We know it was in a collection of very few documents he passed on to his children.
“Not much else made it into the hands of his family so what is it that is so special about this journal?
“When you pop it open and you look at it, it raises some immediate questions about its value (to the investigation).”
Mr Smith believes the diary could contain secret messages which, if they can be cracked, may unlock the long-running mystery.
“There is lots of room for code or hidden message or some kind of memory-jogging device,” he said.
“If the words white elephant is used in the text, does that mean he’s reminding himself of something large and white.
“We do our best to really put this journal through its paces. First we’ve got to authenticate it, is it written by Jesse Marcel? Does it have code? And, if so, can we break it?
“To the History’s credit they really put their money where their mouth is in making sure this document is credible in interpreting something so potentially important as the Roswell incident.”
Mr Smith believes as Major Marcel was himself a highly trained army intelligence officer, writing in code would be something he probably had the skills to do.
“In talking to the codebreakers the potential kinds of codes certainly seem something he could do … it’s basic in its mathematics but kind of effective,” he said.
And while he went into the investigation with an open mind, he did admit to being a big sci-fi fan.
“I grew in the ’80s and ’90s fascinated by the X-Files. It made me curious about the phenomenon,” he said.
“When it came to investigating it seriously, it was one of the first things I did after leaving the CIA. I wanted to use my skills and poke around and see if there is any truth to this whatsoever.
“I spent a number of years looking at UFO groups and talking to people who claimed to have been abducted or said they had had close encounters of their own.
“I wanted to see if there was any merit in these stories and it gets more intriguing when we learn about our government’s effort to track these issues.
“I’m a believer there is life out there … whether they have been here I’m not sure.
“I think this possibility is very real and as a national security expert I would say it is something we have to consider and even prepare for in some degree.
“We do know, almost conclusively, that there was a government cover-up. Even the government claims there was a cover up … with the explanations that were put out in the wake of the extreme public interest in this.
“There was a government cover-up of some kind that much we know. Whether the government is being truthful now is up for debate.
“I think cover stories are an important part of national security. Our government needs them to take care of national secrets like nuclear weapons, advanced aerospace and that kind of thing.
“I don’t begrudge the government for doing that but the tipping point is can we trust our government at all. But is our government hurting itself by not disclosing more about what it knows about this issue.
“We can still feel the impact of The Roswell incident 70 years later the way we don’t with other cover-ups.”
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This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission
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