This article was published in the daily newspaper Farmington Daily Times, of Farmington, New Mexico, USA, on August 22, 2004.
Aztec to premiere UFO documentary
By Debra Mayeux/The Daily Times
AZTEC — As research continues into the infamous, yet unproven Aztec UFO crash of 1948, a Canadian film company has released the first full-length documentary about the event.
The Aztec Public Library, sponsor of the annual Aztec UFO Symposium, recently received a copy and plans to premiere it at 7 p.m. Thursday at Aztec City Hall.
"This video elevates the story to a national level of discussion," said Leanne Hathcock, librarian and founder of the symposium.
It was her research, along with the help of North Carolina resident Scott Ramsey, that led to a renaissance of interest in the purported crash in March 1948 in Hart Canyon north of Aztec.
Ramsey has completed countless hours of research and successfully declassified material pertinent to the incident.
"We’re working very hard in trying to identify two law enforcement officers at the scene, and at the same time trying to be respectful to the families," Ramsey said.
New Mexico and UFOs have become synonymous since the surging popularity of the Roswell crash in July 1947, but Aztec is coming into its own, according to Hathcock and Ramsey.
"I think the documentary puts Aztec in a positive light," Ramsey said.
City Commissioner Jim Rubow agreed, saying the film was well done.
"I thought it was fairly open minded," he said. "They did a good job of integrating local history giving (the story) a better understanding of anything I’ve seen to date."
The film begins with a view of San Juan County’s high desert landscape and film producer Paul Kimball telling the story of Aztec.
It was a quiet evening north of the county seat, when an oil well fire broke out on a mesa above Hart Canyon. The fire led people to something much more interesting — a crashed UFO containing charred bodies, Kimball tells in the story Ramsey continually attempts to verify.
It has been the researchers desire to locate all living eyewitnesses, but Ramsey said he has missed many due to their untimely deaths.
He has spoken to a number of people in Cuba about a former resident who may have been at the crash site. He learned from them that in March 1948, the Air Force paid that small town a visit.
Dr. Lincoln La Paz and a high-ranking military official came to Cuba to investigate strange sightings, Ramsey said.
"At the end of a few days of investigation, La Paz wrote it off as meteor showers, including rock samples that he tried to pawn off on locals as meteorites," Ramsey said.
The researcher, who is most prominent in the documentary, believes this incident might be tied to Aztec.
This information will not be found on the video because it was only recently discovered.
What viewers will see is a potpourri of ufologists including Stanton Friedman and Nick Redfern and skeptics like Karl Pflock.
Ramsey, however, is the center of attention, having done most of the updated research on Aztec.
"He was going on the paper trail and the evidence," Hathcock said, adding Kimball used "talking heads" to tell the story to provide a basis for credibility.
"I feel like it was well done," she said.
"(Kimball) is a purist when it comes to doing a documentary," Ramsey said. "It has to be based on as much fact as possible."
The facts are played out with scenery and "Dick Tracy" graphics for an enjoyable yet informative film that will soon be for sale with all profits benefiting the Aztec Public Library.
Debra Mayeux: email@example.com