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Roswell 1947 - Documents on the witnesses

Mr. and Mrs. Dan Wilmot

(Dan WILMOT, Mr. and Mrs Dan WILMOT, WILMOTS).

Please, before asking any question or sending any comment or criticism, read this.

Biography:

According to the Roswell Daily Record newspaper for July 8, 1947, Dan Wilmot and his wife were then Roswell residents living on 105 South Pennsylvania Avenue. Mr. Wilmot is said to be "one of the most respected and reliable citizens in town" Mr. Wilmot is said to be a hardware man.

This address is in the town center of the city of Roswell, nearly at the exact center of the city.

Affidavits:

There is no affidavit by the Wilmots.

In the 1947 Press:

The Roswell Daily Record article for July 8, 1947, included this report:

Mr. and Mrs. Dan Wilmot apparently were the only persons in Roswell who seen what they thought was a flying disk. They were sitting on their porch at 105 South Penn. last Wednesday night at about ten o'clock when a large glowing object zoomed out of the sky from the southeast, going in a northwesterly direction at a high rate of speed. Wilmot called Mrs. Wilmot's attention to it and both ran down into the yard to watch. It was in sight less then a minute, perhaps 40 or 50 seconds, Wilmot estimated. Wilmot said that it appeared to him to be about 1,500 feet high and going fast. He estimated between 400 and 500 miles per hour. In appearance it looked oval in shape like two inverted saucers, faced mouth to mouth, or like two old type washbowls placed, together in the same fashion. The entire body glowed as though light were showing through from inside, though not like it would inside, though not like it would be if a light were merely underneath. From where he stood Wilmot said that the object looked to be about 5 feet in size, and making allowance for the distance it was from town he figured that it must have been 15 to 20 feet in diameter, though this was just a guess. Wilmot said that he heard no sound but that Mrs. Wilmot said she heard a swishing sound for a very short time. The object came into view from the southeast and disappeared over the treetops in the general vicinity of six mile hill. Wilmot, who is one of the most respected and reliable citizens in town, kept the story to himself hoping that someone else would come out and tell about having seen one, but finally today decided that he would go ahead and tell about it.

The announcement that the RAAF was in possession of one came only a few minutes after he decided to release the details of what he had seen.

See full article and scan here.

Investigators notes and comments:

Note: The Wilmots' report appears in countless ufology books and websites. I do not reproduce all of them, I do mention the most interesting and include the most "skeptical". The only "real" source for their report is the newspaper article above.

Karl Pflock:

The author says that July 2, 1947, had been a very hot day in Roswell, and shortly before 10 p.m., Mr. and Mrs. Dan Wilmot were relaxing on the from porch of their home near the center of the city of about 15.000 residents, hoping to get some fresh air. suddenly, a large object "like two inverted saucers faced mouth-to-mouth appeared in the sky, streaking in from the southeast, glowing "as though light were showing through from inside." The UFO sped rapidly and silently northwest, towards Corona, about 85 miles from there in straight line.

Wilmot, a respected local businessman, reported this to the Roswell Daily Record about a week later, saying the object appeared to be 15 to 20 feet in diameter, flew at high speed "between 400 to 500 miles per hour" and passed over the city at about 1500 feet.

Pflock wonders how the size, speed, height of the UFO were estimated is not recorded, and these must be just guesses. Pflock then writes about the William Woody report, saying it was "about the same time that evening".

Further on, Pflock notes that the direction of the object as per the Wilmots is the exact opposite to the direction given by William Woody.

Further on, Pflock says that the idea that the Wilmots testimony is of a flying saucer is unsupported, and further on still, he says the Wilmot testimony could well be the same object reported by William Woody, ie a meteor, that the Woody sighting date is uncertain but could be July 2, 1947.

Source:

Loren E. Gross:


The Wilmot report.

Without a doubt the best candidate for a "Roswell object" was the July 2nd observation made by Mr. and Mrs. Wilmot. Here is a detailed account as published in the Roswell Daily Record:

"Mr. and Mrs. Dan Wilmot apparently were the only persons in Roswell who have seen what they thought was a flying disk. "They were sitting on their porch at 105 South Penn. Last Wednesday night at about ten minutes before ten o'clock when a large glowing object zoomed out of the sky from the southeast, going in a northwesterly direction at a high rate of speed.

"Wilmot called Mrs. Wilmot's attention to it and·both ran down into the yard to watch. It was in sight less than a minute, perhaps 40 or 50 seconds, Wilmot estimated.

"Wilmot said that it appeared to him to be about 1,500 feet high and going fast. He estimated between 400 and 500 miles per hour.

"In appearance it looked oval in shape like two inverted saucers faced mouth to mouth, or like two old type washbowls placed together in the same fashion. The entire body glowed as though light were showing through from inside, though not like it would be if a light were merely underneath.

"From where he stood Wilmot said that the object looked to be about 5 feet in size, and making allowance for the distance it was from town he figured that it must have been 15 or 20 feet in diameter, though this was just a guess.

"Wilmot said that he heard no sound but that Mrs. Wilmot said she heard a swishing sound for a very short time.

48

"The object came into view from the southeast and disappeared over the treetops in the general vicinity of six-mile hill.

"Wilmot who is one of the most respected and reliable citizens in town, kept the story to himself hoping that someone else would come out and tell about having seen one, but finally today decided that he would go ahead and tell about seeing it. The announcement that the RAAF was in possession of one came only a few minutes after he had decided to release the details of what he had seen.".. (xx.)

(xx.) Roswell, New Mexico. Roswell Daily Record. 8 July 47. p.1.

Source:

Philip J. Corso:

This author gave a quite romanced version of the events:

The radar anomalies continued into the next night as Dan Wilmot, owner of a hardware store in Roswell, set up chairs on his front porch after dinner to watch the streaks of lightning flash across the sky in the distance. Shortly before ten that evening, the lightning grew more intense and the ground shook under the explosions of thunder from a summer storm that pounded the chaparral off in the northwest of the city. Dan and his wife watched the spectacle from beneath the dry safety of their porch roof. It was as if each new bolt of lightning were a spear that bent the heavens themselves.

"Better than any Fourth of July fireworks, " the Wilmots must have been remarking as they watched in awe as a bright oval object streaked over their house and headed off into the northwest, sinking below a rise just before the horizon where it was engulfed in darkness. The sky again became pitch black. By the time the next bolt of lightning shot off", the object was gone. A most unusual sight, Dan Wilmot thought, but it was gone from his sight and gone from his thoughts, at least until the end of the week.

Source:

Jérôme Beau:

Inhabitant of the locality of Roswell.

Wilmot was reported to have witnessed Roswell's crash, 1947-7-2 at 9:50 pm, when he and his wife saw an oval-shaped craft streaking in the sky heading northwest.

On 7-8, the Roswell Daily Record published the news on the cover, preceded by dozens of newspapers around the world. It can be read, below a beautiful headline on 5 columns, citing the testimony of the Wilmot.

In 1980 Paul Wilmot, son of Dan Wilmot, told Jesse A. Marcel that his parents had actually seen the object explode.

Source:

Chris A. Rutkowski:

The author says that on July 2, 1947, business owner Dan Wilmot and his wife were sitting outside their porch, enjoying the summer evening, when at about 09:50 p.m. they saw a bright, disc-shaped object with glowing lights flying northwest very rapidly. In an interview with the "Roswell daily Record", he described the object as shaped like "two inverted saucers mouth to mouth", and an estimated six to eight meters, ie 20 to 25 feet in diameter.

The author says the handful of sightings related to the Roswell incident are hardly remarkable, that they have meteors characteristics, and that even the sighting by Dan Wilmot has some characteristics of a bolide, even with the description of two bowls rim to rim.

Sources:

Tim Printy:

"UFO Skeptic" Tim Printy days that in the early part of July 1947, Roswell residents reported strange objects moving through the skies at night, and man authors wanted everyone to believe that one or more "discs" were seen traveling near Roswell the night before one supposedly crashed. He says there are several potential witnesses but what they report is not clear and could very easily be explained away as meteors.

He says that in the July 8, 1947, edition of the Roswell Daily Record, there is a reported sighting which occurred on the evening of July 2nd. He gives the part of the newspaper article about it.

He says the estimates provided by the Wilmots were probably not very accurate, and cites one of the first astronomers to investigate UFOs, Dr. J. Allyn Hynek, who stated in his initial report to Project Grudge: "...it is obvious that it would usually be impossible for observers to make reliable estimates of the speed, distance, or size of such stimulus objects. It is not possible to estimate accurately the distance of small bright objects viewed against a clear sky, unless the object is identified first...It must be concluded, therefore, that most of the statements of speed, distance, altitude, and size are entirely unreliable and should be disregarded. This is doubly true of observations made at night. (Steiger 228)".

He then cites astronomer Francis Drake about the time lapse between the event and the reporting. Drake performed studies of how individuals reported meteor events and stated "The first fact we learned was that witnesses memory of such exotic events fades very quickly... after 5 days people report more imagination than truth" (Sagan and Page 248).

He says the observations made by astronomer Dr. William K. Hartmann during the Condon Study on UFO were even more revealing. Dr. Hartmann described how witnesses made numerous misperceptions while observing the reentry of the Zond IV satellite/booster rocket in March of 1968. A significant fraction of the reports submitted were extremely inaccurate and made serious misjudgments in speed, distance, and size of the objects. Many of these reports provided additional details that were highly erroneous, which included hearing sounds, seeing shapes behind the illuminated fragments and referring to these fragments as "windows" on the craft. Hartmann said it was an "Excitedness Effect": "...the excited observers who thought they had witnessed a very strange phenomenon produced the most detailed, longest, and most misconceived reports..." (Condon et al. 574).

He says a wealth of information is available to indicate reports such as the Wilmots are not very accurate at all. World War II intelligence expert R.V. Jones said "...witnesses were usually right when they said that something had happened at a particular place, although they could be wildly wrong about what had happened." (Condon et al. 925).

He says the Wilmots very probably saw was a meteor, as much of the description is very similar to the manner in which inexperienced observers describe a brilliant meteor.

He says "the only possible reason to believe that the object was not a meteor is the duration of the event", saying that some bright fireballs have been recorded to last over a minute, but the normal duration is no more than 15 seconds. But as the Wilmots reported 5 days later, and did not accurately record the time duration during the event, the 40-50 seconds could easily have been 10-20 seconds of actual time, and Dan Wilmot stated the time duration was only an "estimate."

He says there is evidence to suggest that the meteor could have come from several meteor radiants active at the time of the sighting although the data is not very conclusive:

The Sagittarid/Alpha Scorpid streams (which has numerous sub-radiants/associated minor showers) often produce bright meteors that travel from out of just as the Wilmots describe. The International Meteor Observers Handbook provides the following description: "The activity period ends in early July with a very diffuse and complex radiant located near the ecliptic in Sagittarius. Despite the very low rates, brighter members of these streams may sometimes prove quite spectacular" (Roggemans 119). The culprit could also have been the Ophiuchids, located in the same region of the sky, which "...seems to produce a large number of bright meteors and fireballs" (Kronk 103). While neither of these meteor showers reaches maximum on July 2, they are diffuse streams, which last over a period of several weeks, which includes July 2. Even if it were not one of these shower members, there are also the occasional random meteor that enters the earth’s atmosphere. Many brilliant meteors are not even associated with meteor showers and can produce a spectacular display.

Source:

The NICAP Website:

Wednesday. July 2, 1947

At 9:50 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Dan Wilmot see an oval object, "like two inverted saucers faced mouth to mouth," passing over their house in Roswell, New Mexico. The object, moving at a high rate of speed, is heading northwest. (Ref. 1)

Ref. 1 - The Truth About Roswell - Randle, Schmitt

Source:

"Entre deux Mondes" website:

On July 2, 1947, a hot and heavy night dawned on New Mexico. As they took the air on the steps of their house in the little town of roswell, the wilmot hardware store man and his wife suddenly saw a large luminous object that grew in going at a high-speed in a northwesterly direction before disappearing behind an oval-shaped hill. It looks like two saucers reversed one over the other. The whole object shone as a light illuminated it from within. Shortly afterwards, the storm burst, witnesses saw a disk crossing the sky and exploding partly over a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico.

Source:

My comments:

The reasoning by Pflock seems a bit odd to me: on the one hand, he said the Wilmots testimony is at odds with the Woody testimony as the directions are opposite, on the other hand he said it must be the same, a meteor, since the Woody testimony strongly suggested it was a meteor.

I do think a meteor cannot be discarded; however, the Wilmots sighting lacks one feature which is almost always associated with meteors sightings mistaken as "flying saucers" or UFOs: no trail is mentioned. This is certainly not sufficient to claim it was thus not a meteor, but it is something of importance in the report; which "skeptic" Tim Printy for example did not care to note.

While all the remarks by Tim Printy about the estimates of size, distance, height, by Dan Wilmot, are very true and should be known by any ufologists, his comment on the duration is less wise: large meteors have been observed for one minute or even 1 minute 30. There is thus no need to think that Dan Wilmot must have seen it only 15 seconds.

Of couse there is no "scientific measurement" of the duration, and Dan Wilmot was conscious that his figures were only estimates; however it is said in the newspaper article tha "Wilmot called Mrs. Wilmot's attention to it and both ran down into the yard to watch". This may have needed more than 10-20 seconds; at least, it means the sighting very likely have lasted more than 1-5 seconds.

The remarks cited by Printy about people adding "details" to meteors sightings are misleading. For example, saying that referring to fragments of a re-entry as "windows" does not mean the observation is not well reported, it only means that the interpretation is erroneous. Any ufologist should know the difference between erroneous description and erroneous interpretation. "Skeptics" usually blur this, in order to convince the reader that the reports are unreliable, when such examples only indicate that the interpretations are unreliable.

The sound mentioned by Mrs Wilmot only is, to the "skeptic", evidence that witnesses add imagined details, and "skeptics" generally says it is caused by memory faults or the will to believe in flying saucers. It is not necessarily true. In instances of big meteors, a noise is sometimes reported, and sometimes, it is reported by some witnesses but not all. This was the subjects of debates. Many people consider that meteors are necessarily silent (unless they explode) and that hearing a noise is then either due to imagination or to a real noise unrelated to the meteor. But others noticed that the important electromagnetic effect of a meteor hitting the atmosphere molecules at supersonic speed can cause metallic objects, for example, near a witness to produce some faint sound.

I must insist that meteors sounds are not caused by acoustic propagation in the air: the distance between the source and the listener, the short duration of the meteor streak relative to this distance, would result in acoustic propagation to have the listener "get" the sound well after the meteor is no longer visible.

In 1719, astronomer Edmund Halley noted that observers up to 300km away from a huge meteor reported hearing hissing noises; but since sound takes about five seconds to cover a mile, Halley thought it was impossible for the witnesses to have heard sounds from the fireball in the time it passed, so he dismissed the hearings as "the effect of pure fantasy". But he was wrong.

There are numerous studies in the scientific literature about meteor sounds; let me quote the abstract of one of the most recent:

Concurrent sound associated with very bright meteors manifests as popping, hissing, and faint rustling sounds occurring simultaneously with the arrival of light from meteors. Numerous instances have been documented with -11 to -13 brightness. These sounds cannot be attributed to direct acoustic propagation from the upper atmosphere for which travel time would be several minutes. Concurrent sounds must be associated with some form of electromagnetic energy generated by the meteor, propagated to the vicinity of the observer, and transduced into acoustic waves. Previously, energy propagated from meteors was assumed to be RF emissions. This has not been well validated experimentally. Herein we describe experimental results and numerical models in support of photoacoustic coupling as the mechanism. Recent photometric measurements of fireballs reveal strong millisecond flares and significant brightness oscillations at frequencies =40?Hz. Strongly modulated light at these frequencies with sufficient intensity can create concurrent sounds through radiative heating of common dielectric materials like hair, clothing, and leaves. This heating produces small pressure oscillations in the air contacting the absorbers. Calculations show that -12 brightness meteors can generate audible sound at ~25?dB SPL. The photoacoustic hypothesis provides an alternative explanation for this longstanding mystery about generation of concurrent sounds by fireballs.

Source: "Photoacoustic Sounds from Meteors", Richard Spalding, John Tencer, William Sweatt, Benjamin Conley, Roy Hogan, Mark Boslough, GiGi Gonzales & Pavel Spurný, in Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 41251, 2017.

What this paper says was known earlier already, for example, in 1992, in "Electrophonic sounds from large meteor fireballs", by Keay, C. S. L., in Meteoritics (ISSN 0026-1114), vol. 27, no. 2, June 1992, p. 144-148 (available at http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1992Metic..27..144K).

It was talked about in 1966 in the paper Acoustic Effects of Meteors, by Hindley, K. B., in The Astronomer, vol. 3, pp F12-F13:


ACOUSTIC EFFECTS OF METEORS

K B Hindley

I found P B York's comments in CA 25 on the anomalous sounds accompanying bright meteor phenomena interesting. The phenomenon has held many people's attention (including my own) for some time. A bright meteor penetrating below 50 kilometres in the atmosphere produces a shock wave (being supersonic), and this may, on favourable occasions, be heard as a crack followed by a rumble, at least five minutes after the fireball appeared. It takes the shock wave at least that period of time to travel down from 50 km to ground level and the observer's ear.

However, there are many well-authenticated cases of the appearance of a bright meteor or fireball being accompanied by anomalous sounds. These have been variously described as swishing, rustling, sizzling, whistling, or cracking noises. Many observers have compared these sounds with that made by burning grass or gorse. The explain these sounds, we have an interesting problem in physics. The distance separating the observer and the meteor is at least 50 km, and usually more like 100, and the only phenomenon which can cover such distances virtually instantaneously is electromagnetic radiation, from X-rays, through light, to radio waves. This fact has led to schools of thought in attempting to explain this phenomenon: (a) subjective effects, or (b) radio waves.

I see as a fact that in 2017 still, there are ufologists who know about meteors sounds, and others who still believe meteors must be silent while they are seen and noise must therefore be caused by imagination or flawed memory.

Of course, there is no "scientific" proof Mrs Wilmot did hear a real sound; however, I feel there is no proof of the contrary either. To me, I see the possibility that the hearing of the sound indicates that what the Wilmot saw was a large, rather then a small, meteor, it is was a meteor.

About the date and time: the initial report in the newspaper clearly states it was on Wednesday according to Dan Wilmot, this is July 2, 1947. William Woody does not give this date for his sighting, he wrote in his affidavit that his sighting was "One hot night during the summer of 1947, probably in early July". I found almost all sources discussing the Wilmot sighting give the correct said date of July 2, 1947, though some web pages claim the date was July 6, or 7, 1947 - which is simply and totally unsupported. But he hour is not always correctly given. Wilmot said: "at about ten o'clock". In Pflock's book, this changes to "shortly before 10 p.m." Why? Then, probably inspired by Pflock, we get "09:50 p.m."

About the direction: the original source says the "object zoomed out of the sky from the southeast, going in a northwesterly direction" and "object came into view from the southeast and disappeared over the treetops in the general vicinity of six mile hill". Corona is exactly 137 miles from the Wilmots', in the Northwest at 314°. This is the direction to the Foster Ranch

Document history:

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1.0 Patrick Gross April 24, 2017 First published.

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