Chuck and Deb’s Excellent Adventure
Preliminary Info: Our most recent “excellent” adventure started way back in July, when my sister and I were in Roswell for the 55th anniversary. Me an independent researcher/investigator out of Colorado, and my older sister Debbie, a Mufon investigator from Missouri; We had our sights on doing some serious investigation to full fill the need for one of our most exciting hobbies. Our UFO investigative road trips are mainly funded by Chuck and Deb, well actually Deb and Chuck, which says a lot about our spouses not giving us flack for stretching our wings beyond the norm. While in Roswell interviewing Glenn Dennis, and Walter Haut, we met up with Don Schmitt one of the premiere investigators of the Roswell incident. Don had learned that one of our earlier trips to Roswell had yielded one of our own personal debris field investigations. Based on information I had acquired from Glenn previously and using my trusty GPS, my sister and I had walked the famous debris field; challenging our own theories, and coming up with our own conclusions. Now could it have been our persistent research within this Roswell phenomenon? Or could it have been the numerous times we had been to Roswell talking with residents and other researchers? Or were we just in the right place at the right time? Either way, Don approached us with an idea he might be able to use our personal services in the near future. Trading email addresses and phone numbers, we left the 55th celebration pondering if Don would contact us in the future.
A month had passed, and our pondering was fulfilled. My sister and I started receiving cryptic email messages from Don. A little information here, and a little information there, what was transpiring could be so important not only to our research, but other mainstream Ufologists research as well. This could be the single most exciting event of a lifetime, “Oh outside of getting married”. “Right dear?” Anyway, after numerous segmented electronic messages through digital lines across the nation, my sister and I made plans to once again visit Roswell. This time not to talk with other researchers and eye witnesses but to partake in something so extraordinary, it boggles mainstream thinking minds. To actually excavate part of the desert in which eye witnesses claim a UFO crashed! Well not really crashed, more like skipped off the desert floor then later crashing some 17 miles away. Anyway the area we were going to excavate is known to Ufology as the, “Mac Brazel debris field.”
Friday: We left Colorado Springs around noon on Friday, and arrived at the pre-designated location at 6:00pm, “The UFO Museum and Research Facility in Roswell.” Walking towards the back of the Museum, we met other individuals whose cryptic email messages also led them to this wild trek. It was at this meeting we met Dr. Bill “Indiana Jones” Doleman from the University of New Mexico, and learned the Sci-Fi Channel was flippin’ the bill for this event. I was surprised to see the Sci-Fi channel there, thinking this would turn into a Media Circus. At that time my sister and I had seriously thought of turning down the offer and conducting an alternate research while we were there. But after meeting with Larry Landsman from Sci-Fi, and listening to Dr Doleman and Don Schmitt, we made the decision to put our personal trust with these individuals, and help them as much as we could to achieve theirs, and our goals.
Saturday: Saturday morning started with our 6:30am rendezvous at Wal-Mart, watching the sunrise while slowly sipping our gas station 30 weight coffee. Larry Landsman was barking out orders in the distance, so we gathered our gear, hopped into white unmarked SUVs and motored to the Mac Brazel Debris site. In constant communication with handheld radios, we followed New Mexico’s finest archeologists, Dr. Bill, to look for the un-lookable. Arriving at the debris field within a couple of hours, and a motor home chuggin’ in as a command post, we put on our student caps and began a very intensive course in archeology. Oh I forgot to mention the armored vehicle and all the armed guards which surrounded the area. Oh well no big deal, I had done archeology work in the past, and my sister treasure hunts underwater in the ‘Key’s, so we were used to the armed guards. (Not!) Anyway we were ready to take anything Dr. Bill could throw at us. Or at least we thought. Then we started hearing commands, as if Patton had returned from Europe. “We will start by digging a 1 meter by 1 meter hole, 10 centimeters in depth at a time, at the pre-designated locations.” “We will take dirt samples at every 10 centimeter levels, only after it’s been properly sifted.” “You will dig at least 6 to 8 levels deep, and YOU WILL ENJOY IT!!” “You will also make sure all paperwork is properly done, when excavating your site, If not I will personally come over and Bonk you on the Head!” “And now me and my team, Bob and Loui, will demonstrate each aspect of what we expect you to do!” “Please walk this way, and don’t doddle.” Three hours later, and our brains ready to collapse with brilliant information, it was time, time for lunch. Ok after lunch we donned our spiffy grade A, archeologist spades in hand, and started clearing dirt at our 1 meter by 1 meter sights.
Now clearing dirt, or digging a hole for all you laymen out there, is not as easy as it seems. First you are constrained by a 1 meter by 1 meter twined off area held in by 4 spikes located one in each corner. Then you have a level spike in one corner which has a string attached a certain distance in centimeters from the surface of the ground. The height of the string on the level spike is determined by the archeologist surveying equipment. This gives you a precise starting point to measure the depth of your dig through each level. Each level consists of taking your trusty trough, pointing to the desired angle to the ground, then cutting away dirt a few centimeters at a time. Trying not to destroy anything that could be underground, or jamming your fingers into the hard packed surface. Of course I didn’t do that. Anyway, each level is 10 centimeters deep and must be properly measured and maintained to have a proper dig.
Now to properly measure the depth of your dig for each level, you must use the leveling string attached to the leveling spike. Connected to the leveling string is a bubble-level. You have to stretch the leveling string across your dig, while using a ruler to measure the depth. The string and ruler create a “T” formation, with the top of the “T” having the bubble level. Moving the ruler across the bottom of your dig, while the string is positioned at a 10 centimeter increment, and keeping the bubble in the center of your level, ensures the floor of your dig is exactly level to the surface of the ground at a 10 centimeter depth. Now you must repeat this measuring system for every 10 centimeter levels you dig down to. Whew! Confused? I was at first.
OK now sifting the dirt. All the dirt taken from each level of the dig must be sifted properly using an ACME 2002 sifting screen. It’s roughly a 4′x4′ square box made of 2″x4″‘s, with a wire mesh screen attached for the base. The sifting screen is then attached by rope to the inside center of a large tripod, allowing it to sway back and forth. Standing firmly, holding the 2″x4″‘s of the screen, you violently shake the screen while yelling colorful metaphors. Well you don’t really need to yell but it helps when you get a splinter in your hand. Anyway, the amount of dirt we normally sifted filled a 5 gallon bucket. That’s a lot of dirt, and a lot of dust.
Note: 1. Sifting dirt should be done with your mouth closed, and if you could close your nostrils, that would help too! 2. Sifting dirt next to someone trying to dig their site, could cause bodily injuries to the person sifting. 3. Wearing shorts while sifting causes the hair on your legs to attract the sifted dirt like a magnet, resulting in Sasquatch looking legs. Which isn’t too bad unless your female and forgot to shave that day. Now why do you sift?
Sifting gives you an opportunity to look for artifacts. An artifact or “hmuo” which Dr. Bill referred them to, is any tiny object that looks out of place within the environment your are excavating. Out of place objects could be simply a piece of pottery, an arrow head, or maybe a piece of space ship. Anyway, if it doesn’t seem to belong there, then it’s an artifact. And if you find one, then you bag it, log it, and then transfer it into safe keeping. In our case, safe keeping was an armored vehicle surrounded by armed guards. The artifacts we were looking for was anything which resembled eye witness accounts of the debris seen back in 1947. Example, Jesse Marcel Jr’s description of debris his dad had shown him. Of course if we found any balloon fragments, we were told not to say anything and hide it down our shirts. (Just kidding) We sifted to look for any artifact which could prove or disprove the means of this excavation’s site.
Well the end of Saturday yielded a 40 centimeter deep hole, which was well documented by the Sci-Fi photographers and camera men. And even though I stopped from time to time to discuss the secrets of the universe with them, we achieved a great deal of progress that day. I hope they got my good side. Anyhow, we needed to finish this particular hole by Sunday morning so we could start another after lunch. Well you just can’t walk away from an unfinished site for the night. You need to get out your trusty camel hair brush, and dust pan, and “Sweep Out Your Site!” The bottom of your site must be whistle clean. At that point one of the archeologists would venture over and take a picture of the inside of your dig. This is to insure your dig doesn’t get “salted” or for the laymen again, “tampered with” while you’re away. After pictures are taken, you then cover the hole with a tarp, and secure it for the evening. After that you secure your buckets and shovels, and lower the sifting tri-pods. You do this because it’s been known that cows usually come through your site, and , and; And try to finish what you started! Then they get all the credit. Stupid cows. Well we headed back to Roswell for a very late dinner, discussion of the day’s events, and war plans for the next day. It was then time to crash.
Sunday: Today started as usual, in front of Wal-Mart by 6:30am. This time the Sci-Fi crew was to stay in town and tape interviews. We all left the parking lot and headed for the nearby gas station for a cup of Joe and gas. We made pretty good time getting to the dig, Dr. Bill likes to drive fast. Upon arrival we all headed back to our dig sites and started uncovering the tarps. Before we could proceed with the digging, one of the archeologists had to come by and take another picture of our hole. This is to insure the picture taken the previous night matches the picture taken the next day. Once again this keeps the sight authentic and not subject to a salting controversy. This particular site was getting real tuff to dig. Debbie and I were hitting hard pack dirt at 50 centimeters. It would take over an hour to dig another 10 centimeters, and when we hit 70 centimeters we landed on a white rock layer. At this time it was about 11:00am. Well needless to say all of us volunteer diggers started to get frustrated. As a researcher I knew that debris would not be found in 2000 year old dirt. I decided to challenge Dr. Bill. That’s when the good Doctor explained my particular site was a “Sedimentary Site”. These sites are dug so the archeologists have an idea how the under layers of soil are laid out. 70 centimeters was good enough, and now the archeologist could use our site to monitor the different soil layers with underground moisture seepage. After lunch, we would start our next 1×1 meter hole, but lunch time was to get somewhat interesting.
It seems Debbie and I weren’t the only ones frustrated with digging down 2000 years. Other volunteers were starting to feel the pain of hard packed dirt. (With rocks) Now you have to understand we didn’t use picks or shovels, we used garden spades. Crunched knuckles plus bent fingers equals anger and frustration. So during lunch we all gathered into the motor home for a discussion. After we ate our gas station grub, Dr. Bill, using writing utensils, started explaining why we were doing what we were doing. He explained how important it was to know the soil levels at different parts of the debris field, and how very important it was to know the contour of dirt. This was archeology at its finest. Still, we were there to excavate for artifacts, not dig to China. I decided to say something. Why? Because I’m Stupid! But as one of only two actual UFO researchers there that day, I stepped forward. “Now Bill”. “Using your poster paper, please draw me a sloped line”. “Now slope the line down to a straight line to represent a hill”. “Now if an object skipped off this area here at X amount of speed, scraped the surface of the ground at X amount of distance here, then over 55 years of erosion, where would be the best place to dig?” “Please Mr. Spock, give me your best guess”. Bill thought for a moment, and started to realize where we were coming from, and for a brief minute there was some bonding in the air. We started to understand archeology work, and the archeologists started to understand the many personal reasons we had devoted our time for this project. Yes there was a glimpse of sun and a sliver of a rainbow in the air, and we all started seeing eye to eye.
After lunch, we took a break while Dr. Bill and his team were checking their surveying equipment. A twist here and a twist there, they were refocusing in on where the next digging sites would be. We were excited, and within an hour we were working in new sites. 1 meter by 1 meter carefully planned excavating sites, carefully documented, and carefully orchestrated. Mr. conductor was hard at work. This guy never stopped moving. I hold him and his team to the highest regards, such professionalism in today’s world is hard to notice. Yet here it was right in front of us, unfolding like a great opera. This was archeology even Indiana Jones would be proud of.
Sunday afternoon yielded some “hmuo’s”, these artifacts were bagged, documented and secured in the armored vehicle. We were all busy at work, and you could hear the somewhat silent sounds of humming in the background. It reminded me of the sounds the guards sang at the, Witches castle in the Wizard of Oz movie. Of course I have a morbid sense of humor. And there was our wizard from the Emerald University, not hiding behind a curtain, but a clip board, planning our next course of action. As with Saturday, we followed the proper procedures to secure our sites when it was time to leave. Muscles aching, sunburn pounding and dust in our eyes, we once again said good-bye to another day in paradise. Paradise only a passing tarantula would enjoy. With Monday around the corner, this was to be a very significant day. Unfortunately (again) fireworks were to fly late Monday night, lit by yours truly. Once again my many years of UFO research, combined with my sister’s investigative talents, were to challenge the experts. Boy I bet they loved us.
Monday: Monday morning we motored to Wal-Mart by 6:30am. This time Sci-Fi was back to join us. Camera crew ready to roll, today was destined for excitement. Upon arrival to the debris site, this time there were no instructions; We were all well versed in procedures, and started our morning routines. Tarps pulled, pictures taken, sifting tri-pods up, knee pads on, tools in hand, and we were back to work. Cameras in the background, interviews running a muck, it seemed like it was going to become an interesting day. Then the helicopter flew in. Yep this was going to be an interesting day. Tom Carey and Don Schmitt starting patrolling the area as if they were field marshals, making sure everyone of their whims were being fulfilled. My sister and I were moving pretty quick with our dig, and were becoming frustrated with any type of production delays. We opted to skip lunch, and stay with our dig. We didn’t want to miss one bucket of dirt, searching for that Holy Grail of Corona.
Now while everyone was eating some 100 yards away, Debbie and I took the opportunity to go over our own personal thoughts of what was transpiring at the sight. Not to contradict what Dr. Bill was doing, or what Tom wanted us to do, we were personally running out of time. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it in. Being volunteers we weren’t getting paid, matter of fact for every day away from our jobs, we were losing money. Debbie runs her own business with her husband and son, and I contract designing microchips. Therefore, no worky, no payee. But still this was very important, and a must to do. With previous plans to leave Monday night after the dig, we didn’t want to miss one single moment of daylight. Viciously working, we were able to start on another site. This new site derived from discussions between us and the archeologists, an area smack dab in the middle of where anomalies were located underground. Wiping our brows, pulling up our already pulled up shirt sleeves, we dove into work. While others were munching on food, we were munching on dirt. I’ve already consumed my yearly requirement of minerals the last couple days, and was working on next years. Well lunch broke and the other volunteers migrated back to their digs, once again working their sites as if they were gold miners from days gone by. Off in the distance a whining sound started to transpire. The helicopter was making ready for flight. Cameramen, Don, Tom and a host of others were filing into the bird. Aerial investigation was the priority, shooting pictures came in close second. A gust of wind, and the chopper was gone. Heading East for new locations, possibly the crash site, possibly the site where bodies flew out, only Don and Tom knew, and we stayed back only to guess.
An hour or so had passed then one of the crew came running down to my site yelling my name. Not sure what was going on, I met him part way. “Chuck, do you have your GPS with you?” He frantically said. “Sure, I don’t leave home with out it”. “Could you find a downed helicopter If you had the coordinates?” My heart slowed, “sure”. I grabbed my GPS from my investigator kit, and ran towards the helicopter’s fuel truck. There a burley man stood, radio in hand, having a direct communication with his pilot. Everything was all right, no injuries, just a warning light had alarmed the pilot, and he made a quick decision to land. Mechanic conversing possibilities with his pilot, at that time it was unknown if they could take off again. Once again I was asked, “Could you locate the helicopter if we gave you it’s coordinates?” “Yes”, I replied, “I had found the debris site over a year ago with it, and I can find anything with valid coordinates.” The mechanic handed me the coordinates, and I immediately began entering them into my GPS. Stopping a couple of times to re-check the numbers he had given me, I didn’t want to miss a trick. “The pilot says he’s about 19 miles away”, replied the mechanic, I muttered back, “Actually it’s 22.9 miles due East”. I could be there if need be. While the mechanic and pilot were deciding how to proceed, I readied our rented SUV in case we needed to roll. 15 minutes later the decision was made to try a lift off. If successful, without warning lights, they were to head right back to our base. In the air they went and we patiently waited, then an all thumbs up came from the mechanic. Chance was to favor Sci-Fi and the investigators on board and this was indeed their lucky day. A simple wave of my hand, and a tip of my dusty cap, I went back to my site.
Later in the afternoon, with 3 teams of volunteers digging all within a 30 foot radius, we were running like a fine tuned Mustang, or Camero if you like Chevy’s. Finding some Artifacts we were making progress. Then again the helicopter made to the air. This time for some camera shooting. As we worked our sites, digging through ground, sifting through rocks and pebbles, we really didn’t do anything out of the ordinary from what we had done all weekend. It was nice to know we were being filmed, and jokes were made, sly remarks were answered, and smiles came to the volunteers Then the smiles slowly turned to frustration as the helicopter made yet another pass, and another, and another.. Well you get the idea. The right shot, the perfect angle, and we became the prop’s. Still we worked on but decided a little mutiny was called for. So the next time the chopper flew over, me, Debbie, and a couple of other volunteers decided to have some fun. We laid down around one dig site and created a human square. Well we don’t know if Don Schmitt had instructed the pilot or there was a down draft, but the next fly over was a hell of a lot lower. Kicking up dust, they had the last laugh. On purpose or by accident, it was still funny, and we got a kick out it. Sci-Fi was very professional, but still human, and we poked fun at each other all through the dig. A jab here, a jab there, and a finger in your nose while they’re shooting your picture ( I hope they don’t use that one) good friends were surely made.
After a late Monday, we headed back to Roswell. Debbie and I were asked to secure reservations at a local restaurant, so after a quick clean up in our motel rooms, we waited for the crew to arrive. Our plans were to eat, shower then hit the road for home. Yet something still bothered us about our dig, and Tuesday would gain a backhoe at the site. Should we stay another day, reschedule flights, take another day from work? Time would tell, and that time was right after dinner.
A confrontation: After eating I made the decision to once again stick my nose where it doesn’t belong. Walking over to where Dr. Bill was finishing up, I made a suggestion that I wanted to alter the way we had dug at the sight. If he would allow my sister and I the opportunity to run our own dig, we would stay one more day. Other volunteers were leaving, and only the backhoe would be working on Tuesday. After much discussion (smile) we decided that if I wanted to strip excavate, I would be allowed to. Strip excavation was taught to me while working at another archeology site in Arizona. I wanted to basically work 1 meter by 5 meter strips, only digging down about 10 centimeters. Just far enough to find something hidden 55 years ago. Debbie and I were to control our own dig, only by the grace of Bill, and a lot of convincing. (Smile) Tuesday was to highlight our excellent adventure.
Tuesday: Debbie and I met Dr. Bill at Wal-Mart again at 6:30am. I think he was surprised to see us this time. We made our usual stop at the gas station for coffee, and headed off to the sight. When we arrived Dr. Bill had some difficulties contacting the backhoe driver. The backhoe should have been near the highway when we arrived. I’m sure he was lost. Well hell it took GPS coordinates to find this place. Debbie handed Bill her satellite cellular, and standing proudly on his archey-truck, he was able to contact the driver and vector him in. All was well. Immediately afterwards, Bill started working on our new site. Accounting for some underground anomalies, the curvature of the sloped hill, the contour of the ground, and the estimated erosion from 55 years of rain fall, Bill flagged out a section, 1 meter wide by about 25 meters long. One of his staff promptly started measuring out the section in 1 meter increments. Laying out guide twine with a flag marking every 5th meter, Debbie and I were ready to start. Moving the sifting tripod and our digging equipment over, I started using a flat head shovel moving the earth. Like a fined tuned clock, I was filling buckets of dirt, and Debbie was sifting it through the screen. Off in the distance the backhoe arrived, and a couple of other volunteers showed up about the time Sci-Fi arrived. Debbie and I stayed with our dig through lunch, and soon thereafter I used the other two volunteers to control two other separate sifting tri-pods. So now Debbie and I had three sifting racks moving while I was feeding 10 centimeter deep dirt to them. Now we became a well oiled four cylinder engine. You could hear the motor running.
With lunch out of the way, Sci-Fi set up their cameras in front of our new location, using us as the backdrop. Debbie and I, by that time, had uncovered some very interesting “hmuo’s” had them bagged, logged, and secured. We were pretty happy with our progress. Don Schmitt in the background talking to the cameras, people we’ve never met before walking over to us to get into the shot, we were in complete control of our situation. Sci-Fi’s excellent photographer Babbar, (who’s real name I can’t pronounce) came to our exotic dig and proudly announced, “Hey this is new!” and started taking more pictures. So now we had multiple 1 by 1 meter dig sites overshadowed by a few 1 by 5 meter strip sites cutting right through them. Cool. Even Don Schmitt came over and helped with some digging. Well just a little, but it was nice to see his approval of the new, unusual dig. Tom Carey swung by and was interested in what we were accomplishing, and after a brief explanation he too was satisfied and on his way. There was still a lot to do, time was of the essence, and we were kicking butt. By the time the last 1 x 5 meter ditch was dug, it was just Debbie and me again. Losing our other two volunteers to other duties, we finished the dig and called it quits. Happy with our results, we dusted off our clothes, picked up our personals, and headed back to the SUV. Running into Don on the way there, we briefed him with our successful day, and then headed towards Bill. Now Bill Doleman and I (at times) didn’t see eye to eye. Using science as a tool, he was very good at what he was doing. Using research as my tool, I added some flavor to his thinking. The bottom line? We left good friends. I highly respect this guy and his team, and honestly believe Sci-Fi could do no better. I would love to work with him again, and felt confident in what he does. So, Debbie and I bid him farewell, and headed back towards Colorado Springs. With a long drive ahead, dusty, tired, and sore, the past few days were definitely the most excellent adventure we had yet. Well that’s “yet”.