One of the pivotal witnesses to what transpired at Roswell on July 8, 1947 has been the base Public Information Officer (PIO), Walter Haut. His story has been told many times and has been somewhat consistent over the years. However, he also played a role behind the scenes in an attempt to guide researchers towards witnesses who might verify that what happened in 1947 was not the recovery of some weather balloon materials but that of an actual crashed alien spaceship.


Haut’s claim to fame


It is an established fact that Walter Haut contacted the local media around lunch time on July 8th with a release stating that Roswell Army Airfield had recovered a crashed flying disc.


The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 409th (sic) (Atomic) Bomb group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriffs office of Chaves County. The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week. Not having phone facilities, the rancher stored the disc until such time as he was able to contact the sheriff's office, which in turn notified Maj. Jesse A. Marcel of the 409th (sic) Bomb Group Intelligence Office. Action was immediately taken and the disc was picked up at the rancher's home. It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters. (Army 1-2)


It was also apparent to the media that the upper chain of command was not pleased with the press release. Haut evidently talked to some of the media about it as he was partially quoted on the news wires:


Lt. Haught (sic) reportedly told reporters that he had been “shut up by two blistering phone calls from Washington.” (Flying. 3)


For the most part, this is all we knew about Lt. Walter Haut until the 1970s, when the Roswell story suddenly became news again.


The Roswell Incident is reborn


Jesse Marcel Sr. told UFO researchers in the late 1970s, that what was found in 1947 was not a weather balloon but something else. His testimony made "The Roswell Incident" what it is today as he told stories about recovered exotic materials that were "not of this earth". During the interviews, Jesse mentioned Haut but not in the manner one might expect of a fellow officer:


We had an eager beaver PIO (Public Information Officer) who took it upon himself to call the AP on this thing…I heard that the brass fried him later on for putting out that press release, but then I can’t say so for sure… (Berlitz and Moore 74).


Additionally, he stated:


It was the public information officer, Haut I believe his name was, who called the AP and later wrote the press release. I heard he wasn’t authorized to do this, and I believe he was severely reprimanded for it. I think all the way from Washington.(Berlitz and Moore 75-6)


Walter Haut was also interviewed but he had little to add.While there are no direct quotes of Haut, the writers stated that:

  1. Haut never saw the object or any other debris.
  2. He was ordered to stay behind to answer the phone.
  3. Blanchard became upset when it was learned that the press release turned into something sensational
  4. Haut resigned his commission in 1948 because he did not want to be transferred.

Haut did talk to the Roswell Daily Record about the incident in 1981 and they reported that "Haut said he'd forgotten the whole affair until Charles Berlitz contacted him." (Vanns)

Haut's unconvincing testimony


Several books appeared in the late 1980s and 1990s that featured additional interviews with Walter Haut. Among the things Haut told Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt were:

  1. Jesse Marcel Sr. told him that the debris had been switched when Ramey took Marcel into another room to look at a map. While Haut is not directly quoted, the footnote for the following is attributed to Haut.


Marcel said that he had brought it to Ramey's office, where the general examined it and then decided that he wanted to see exactly where the object crashed. Marcel and Ramey left for the map room and while they were gone, someone carried the wreckage out, replacing it with the weather balloon long before any reporters were allowed into the office. (Randle and Schmitt UFO 75-76)

  1. That he was unaware of any unusual activity on base


Not that was known to the average people. Carry this one step further. It was never mentioned in a staff meeting. And I used to sit in all the staff meetings (Randle and Schmitt UFO 142).

  1. That Walt Whitmore had Mack Brazel with him for some time.


...Walt Whitmore had practically kidnapped him (Brazel). Walt was an old, old time newspaperman. You never could quite tell whether everything he was saying was all the truth...I think the rumor was that Walt was moving him from place to place. This was a’s a much more interesting story when you move a man from place to place...To my knowledge. I did not know he had been on base. (Randle and Schmitt UFO 143)


Depending on who interviewed him, he gave somewhat different responses. For instance, he told Fred Whiting, that Blanchard mentioned the Roswell incident at a staff meeting shortly after the event:


I believe after those comments he (Blanchard) made some statement to the effect, “we sure messed up on that one last week. As a matter of fact,” he said, “ that outfit that was sending those balloons up were here on our station. They were from White Sands, and they were checking the upper atmosphere winds from east to west.” (Pflock Roswell 233)


It appears in this interview, Haut is suggesting that it was a simple case of misidentification. Additionally, it is interesting to note that this comment was made in 1990, before Project Mogul (which operated out of the White Sands area) was even being mentioned as a potential source of the Brazel debris.


In his interviews with Philip Klass, he revealed that after July of 1947, Marcel was very quiet about the events at Fort Worth and never suggested that something nefarious had occurred:


Although Haut and Marcel had both remained at RAAF for about a year after the flying disk incident, Haut told me that Marcel had never once hinted to him that the weather-balloon/radar-target explanation was not true. (Klass 64-5)


Meanwhile, Kevin Randle describes that Haut was somewhat defensive about the events of July 8th. He especially down-played any stories from 1947 that suggested he had been rebuked by the upper chain of command:


Haut maintains that he received no such telephone calls and said, “A first lieutenant getting telephone calls from Washington? Had it happened, I would have remembered it” (Randle Encyclopedia 135)


That is, if Haut wanted to remember it. Contradicting Haut is radio station announcer George Walsh, who stated in his affidavit:


(9) Sometime that same afternoon, Haut called for the second time. He was quite indignant. “What the hell did you?” he asked. I told him. He then said he had not been able to make a call out of his office since his initial conversation with me. He also said, “I got a call from the War Department that told me to shut up.” This was very unusual, so I asked if the department had given him a correction or another contact to provide the media. He told me his orders were to, quote, shut up, unquote. (Pflock Roswell 290)


Recall that Jesse Marcel Sr. mentioned that he thought that Haut had been reprimanded for the press release. Therefore, it seems probable that Haut was reprimanded for the press release or because he told the press about the "blistering phone calls".


In 1993, Haut signed an affidavit, which reflected most of what he had said the past fifteen years. The key points made are:


(4) In July 1947, I was stationed at the Roswell Army Air base, serving as the base Public Information Officer. At approximately 9:30 AM on July 8, I received a call from Col. William Blanchard, the base commander, who said he had in his possession a flying saucer or parts thereof. He said it came from a ranch northwest of Roswell, and that the base Intelligence officer, Major Jesse Marcel, was going to fly the material to Fort Worth


(5) Col. Blanchard told me to write a news release about the operation and to deliver it to both newspapers and the two radio stations in Roswell. He felt that he wanted the local media to have the first opportunity to have the story. I went first to KGFL, then to KSWS, then to the Daily Record and finally to the Morning Dispatch.


(6) The next day, I read in the newspaper that General Roger Ramey in Fort Worth had said the object was a weather balloon.


(7) I believe Col. Blanchard saw the material, because he sounded positive about what the material was. There is no chance that he would have mistaken it for a weather balloon. Neither is there any chance that Major Marcel would have been mistaken.


(8) In 1980, Jesse Marcel told me that the material photographed in Gen. Ramey’s office was not the material he had recovered.


(9) I am convinced the material recovered was some type of craft from outer space. (Pflock Roswell 261)


For the most part, this was Haut's story for over a decade. Other than the items which were his opinion (7 and 9) and could not be verified (8), Haut's testimony was not very helpful. It pretty much told the history as it was reported in 1947. However, Haut would assist researchers by directing them towards witnesses who could provide important information regarding a crashed spaceship recovery.


Haut’s confidence men


By the late 1980s, it appeared that there was not enough to convince anyone outside UFOlogical circles that something extraordinary had occurred. This would change when Walter Haut began to suggest that some friends/associates of his be interviewed. Haut’s record of being consistent and apparently honest about what had happened seemed to convince many that those he vouched for could be trusted.


Initially, Haut pointed Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt towards Frank Kaufmann. Kaufmann had many wild stories about a crashed spaceship at Roswell and recoveries of alien bodies. Kevin Randle would later write:


Haut told us that someone we should talk to was Frank Kaufmann... And, while talking to Haut about a decade ago, we asked about Kaufmann. Haut told us that anything Kaufmann said was golden. That was his word. Golden. (Randle “witnesses”)


Kaufmann’s stories were denounced by skeptics but accepted by Randle, Schmitt, and others for over a decade. Randle wrote constantly that nobody could prove Kaufmann was lying and that others confirmed his story. Only after Kaufmann's death, was it positively revealed that he was a hoaxer/teller of very tall tales. Haut had vouched for a liar but this is not the only case of him doing so.


Haut was also good friends with a former officer at RAAF, Robert Shirkey and a civilian named Glenn Dennis. Eventually, Haut would work with Dennis and Max Litell to start the Roswell UFO museum in 1991. By then, Glenn Dennis had become a household name in the Roswell circus. Almost all the Roswell writers were unanimous in their trusting of Glenn's testimony about alien bodies and mysteriously missing nurses. Possibly increasing the writers confidence was the fact that Haut was endorsing his friend the same way he was telling Randle/Schmitt that Kaufmann's tales were "golden". For instance, Haut told Klass,


I happen, personally, to believe Glenn. He’s a friend of many, many years. (Klass 68)


Helping boost Haut's endorsement of Dennis was their mutual friend, Robert Shirkey:


Haut had said that during a later conversation with Stanton Friedman he had suggested that Friedman talk Dennis. Friedman did so and during his visit to Roswell in early August 1989, he became the first UFOlogists to hear Dennis’s nurse/ET autopsy story. Haut declined to identify the person who tipped him off to Dennis’s story, but there is good reason to believe it was Robert J. Shirkey, a close friend of Dennis. (Klass 68)


Klass stated that Shirkey spilled the beans about Dennis in an 1989 interview with George Knapp. In that interview, Shirkey mentioned a close friend from the town funeral parlor and hinted at the story Dennis was about to tell. Additionally, it was Shirkey who accompanied Stanton Friedman in his initial interview with Dennis. Klass’s suspicions appear to be confirmed by Karl Pflock, who stated that Shirkey told him he first heard about Dennis mentioning alien bodies at a dinner with the Hauts in 1987. This is a claim that Dennis would later deny. Robert Shirkey would also collaborate with Haut's other key witness, Frank Kaufmann, to write a book and create a video about Roswell. Was Shirkey trying to vouch for Kaufmann and Dennis the same way Haut did?


It was the apparently impressive Dennis testimony that would be one of the key factors in sparking Congressman Steve Schiff's request for the Congressional General Accounting Office (GAO) to look into the Roswell incident. The GAO would find nothing and, because of the inquiry, the USAF would reveal that project MOGUL was the probable source of the debris.


Like Kaufmann, Dennis would eventually be discredited but only after years of arguing back and forth the details. All sorts of arguments would be used to try and explain inconsistencies in both testimonies until it became too obvious to everyone that these two gentlemen were lying. Both of these individuals were friends/associates of Haut before they began telling their wild exotic tales of alien body recoveries and autopsies. Why would Haut, as well as Shirkey, endorse such tales even though he told interviewers early on that he had no knowledge of such events happening? Was it a matter of wanting to believe his friends or was it for other reasons?


It was a SNAFU! was a crashed spaceship


Just before the 50th anniversary of Roswell, Haut apparently was becoming sick of the whole thing. The release of the 1994 USAF Roswell report seemed to give an adequate explanation for the events encountered by Jesse Marcel Sr. According to the May 1, 1997 edition of the CNI newsletter:


Also noted in the KTVU story is the fact that Walter Haut, former press officer for the 509th Bomb Wing at Roswell AAF who issued the famous July 8, 1947 press release claiming recovery of a flying disc, now says he had learned a few days after the announcement that "it was a screwup." Though widely quoted in recent years as believing an unusual craft had been recovered, the FOX news story showed Haut saying he thinks it was just a balloon.(Stepkowski)


Apparently, Haut’s comments were taken out of context or he quickly backtracked after realizing what he had said. Only a few months later, the Albuquerque Journal would state that he did not believe the weather balloon explanation. Were his KTVU comments out of fatigue talking about the incident or were they the truth? If they were the truth it seems that when his comments went public, interested individuals probably called him asking what he meant and Haut decided he better get back on track with the story that earned Roswell its fame. After all, it would be devastating blow if Haut decided to back the USAF just before the 50th anniversary of the event.


Haut changes his tune


Roswell was dying a slow death by 2000 but Haut was still being chased by every Roswell researcher trying to find a crashed spaceship. For the most part, he told the same story over and over. Yes, Blanchard authorized the press release and, no, he did not see any of the debris. However, as he began to get close to death, Haut began to change his story. In 2000, he granted an interview to Dennis Balthaser and Wendy Connors that was different than what he had been telling in the past. He also did not want the contents of his interview revealed until after he had died. This interview talked about Haut seeing a body or bodies as well as the crashed spaceship. Two years later, he signed a NEW AFFIDAVIT where he expanded on this story. This new story sounded a lot like a combination of the stories told by his friends Kaufmann and Dennis:


(6) I was aware that someone had reported the remains of a downed vehicle by midmorning after my return to duty at the base on Monday, July 7. I was aware that Major Jesse A. Marcel, head of intelligence, was sent by the base commander, Col. William Blanchard, to investigate.


(7) By late in the afternoon that same day, I would learn that additional civilian reports came in regarding a second site just north of Roswell. I would spend the better part of the day attending to my regular duties hearing little if anything more.


(8) On Tuesday morning, July 8, I would attend the regularly scheduled staff meeting at 7:30 a.m. Besides Blanchard, Marcel; CIC Capt. Sheridan Cavitt; Col. James I. Hopkins, the operations officer; Major Patrick Saunders, the base adjutant; Major Isadore Brown, the personnel officer;Lt. Col. Ulysses S. Nero, the supply officer; and from Carswell AAF in Fort Worth, Texas, Blanchard's boss, Brig. Gen. Roger Ramey and his chief of staff, Col. Thomas J. Dubose were also in attendance. The main topic of discussion was reported by Marcel and Cavitt regarding an extensive debris field in Lincoln County approx. 75 miles NW of Roswell. A preliminary briefing was provided by Blanchard about the second site approx. 40 miles north of town. Samples of wreckage were passed around the table. It was unlike any material I had or have ever seen in my life. Pieces which resembled metal foil, paper thin yet extremely strong, and pieces with unusual markings along their length were handled from man to man, each voicing their opinion. No one was able to identify the crash debris.


(9) One of the main concerns discussed at the meeting was whether we should go public or not with the discovery.  Gen. Ramey proposed a plan, which I believe originated from his bosses at the Pentagon. Attention needed to be diverted from the more important site north of town by acknowledging the other location. Too many civilians were already involved and the press already was informed. I was not completely informed how this would be accomplished.


(10) At approximately 9:30 a.m. Col. Blanchard phoned my office and dictated the press release of having in our possession a flying disc, coming from a ranch northwest of Roswell, and Marcel flying the material to higher headquarters. I was to deliver the news release to radio stations KGFL and KSWS, and newspapers the Daily Record and the Morning Dispatch.


(11) By the time the news had hit the wire services, my office was inundated with phone calls from around the world. Messages stacked up on my desk, and rather than deal with the media concern, Col. Blanchard suggested that I go home and "hide out."


(12) Before leaving the base, Col. Blanchard took me personally to Building 84, a B-29 hangar located on the east side of the tarmac. Upon first approaching the building, I observed that it was under heavy guard both outside and inside. Once inside, I was permitted from a safe distance to first observe the object just recovered north of town. It was approx. 12 to 15 feet in length, not quite as wide, about 6 feet high, and more of an egg shape. Lighting was poor, but its surface did appear metallic. No windows, portholes, wings, tail section, or landing gear were visible.


(13) Also from a distance, I was able to see a couple of bodies under a canvas tarpaulin. Only the heads extended beyond the covering, and I was not able to make out any features. The heads did appear larger than normal and the contour of the canvas suggested the size of a 10-year-old child. At a later date in Blanchard's office, he would extend his arm about 4 feet above the floor to indicate the height.


(14) I was informed of a temporary morgue set up to accommodate the recovered bodies.


(15) I was informed that the wreckage was not "hot" [radioactive].


(16) Upon his return from Fort Worth, Major Marcel described to me taking pieces of the wreckage to Gen. Ramey's office and after returning from a map room, finding the remains of a weather balloon and radar kite substituted while he was out of the room. Marcel was very upset over this situation. We would not discuss it again.


(17) I would be allowed to make at least one visit to one of the recovery sites during the military cleanup. I would return to the base with some of the wreckage which I would display in my office.


(18) I was aware two separate teams would return to each site months later for periodic searches for any remaining evidence.


(19)I am convinced that what I personally observed was some type of craft and its crew from outer space. (Carey and Schmitt, 215-7)


Exactly why Haut told this new story is difficult to determine since we do not know what his mindset was in those final years. The answer for some UFOlogists is that Haut was finally deciding to break his security oath (of which there is no record) to tell the truth about what he knew now that he was going to die. All that he had been saying for the past fifteen years was all a charade according to long-time crashed spaceship advocate, David Rudiak:


Walter also pulled the "I don't remember" routine on many others for at least a dozen years before this. It wasn't a matter of him not remembering, it was Walter deliberately withholding information. (Rudiak)


It was this kind of thinking that allowed Frank Kaufmann and Glenn Dennis to spin their yarns for over a decade with little or no questioning. Now that Walter is dead, it is easy to create excuses that convince believers since nobody is really left to contradict the story. Still, the historical record and a lot of what was said over the years does contradict Haut's new story.


New story problems/issues


Haut’s story, will be blindly accepted by many UFO researchers simply because it breathes life into the crashed spaceship scenario in which they so preciously believe. However, there is not one iota of physical or documentary evidence that supports these claims. Specific issues that appear to be highly questionable are:


Other problems have to do with what Walter Haut was saying publicly in 2003, after he signed his affidavit! While on Larry King on July 1, 2003 Haut made a clear statement about his involvement with the wreckage:


KING: Did you, Walter, ever see any of the wreckage?


HAUT: No, sir. (King)


Haut was apparently not feeling well as he left the program shortly after this. At this point, Haut was contradicting himself again. After all, he had already stated in writing that he had a piece of wreckage on his desk for display purposes.


According to Frank Warren, this was nothing new. During his interview with Connors and Balthasar, Warren was present. He states:


When Dennis & Wendy interviewed Walter in 2000, he was often confused and had difficulty remembering various things during the session(s); in my unprofessional opinion it appeared to me he was exhibiting the initial stages of either Alzheimer's and/or dementia.


That said, he did in fact (in response to a question) answer in the affirmative regarding seeing (substantial) wreckage and or bodies.


I haven't viewed the tape recently, and am relying on my written notes from when I did, but will be reviewing it again today. According to my notes, I counted _4_ times where he said he didn't see anything! (Warren)


Frank Warren wasn't the only one who noticed Haut's memory problems. According to Balthasar:


I can say that I'm somewhat surprised with the precise details Walter revealed in the affidavit, considering his body language and memory loss when Wendy and I did our copyrighted video taping with Walter. (Balthasar)


Balthasar mentioned that Haut's daughter, who was now in charge of the UFO museum in Roswell, seemed controlling about the words being recorded by her father to other investigators:


Walter's daughter threatened both Wendy and I in written correspondence, stating that we could never use any information gathered in our video interview of Walter. I will probably make that correspondence public within the next few months, considering we now have a double standard on releasing information about Walter Haut. Additionally I was personally advised in writing that I could never talk about ANY conversations I EVER had with Walter Haut. As a 70 hour per week volunteer with the UFO Museum from 1996 -1998 I talked with Walter daily about a lot of topics, prior to his daughter having any active roll with the Museum, and I don't believe attempted censorship should be part of an organization such as the UFO Museum, that claims it's goal is to share information with the public. (Balthasar)


Wendy Connors felt that the affidavit may have been put in front of Walter for him to sign but were not his own words:


In my opinion the affidavit signed by Walter Haut is basically conistent with what he told Dennis and me, but contain embellishments and errors. I believe Walter signed the affidavit, but didn't do the embellishments himself. (Connors)


This was the same feeling the Balthasar expressed:


I'm interested in how the affidavit was obtained, since the affidavit apparently contains precise information well remembered by someone of his age. The affidavit contains written words that may or may not have been written by Walter, as I've not learned that yet, but our copyrighted video tape shows a man either not able to remember certain important things, or a man that was uncomfortable talking about what he knew on camera. (Balthasar)


We will never know if the affidavit was contrived by others wanting to push the Roswell agenda or it was Walter Haut's actual words. However, it does not hide the fact that Haut's two affidavits do not agree. There are only two possibilities for the inconsistency in these two affidavits, Haut either lied to protect the fact that an alien spaceship crashed or he lied at the end for personal or financial reasons.


A new perspective


When Karl Pflock learned of Haut’s new story he became rather incensed by the idea that the interviewers would not reveal the details until after Haut’s death at his request:


From the standpoint of those who care about the facts and truths of Roswell, Walt's claims should be made public while he's still around to be questioned about them. It's more than a little curious that those who are touting Walt's secrecy-cloaked testimony are seeking to protect Walt from probing questions while asserting they want every lead examined and followed and all witnesses questioned while they're still here to question.


It's time to urge Walt to allow his videotaped interview to be made public and make himself available for questions from Roswell-savvy researchers from across the spectrum of belief and hope about the case. After all, he's already permitted the interview to be shared with certain "friendly" ufologists, and he seems to have no qualms about discussing his story with interested acquaintances. "Going public" will not only serve the interests of Roswell research, but if Walt has any concerns about retaliation from the Keepers of the Roswell Secret, he couldn't ask for any better protection than being "out there."(Pflock “Walter”)


Pflock passed away before the interview/affidavit had been released and Haut never had to deal with a public challenge of why his testimony had changed. However, before he passed away, Pflock expressed doubts about Haut and began to write in his Saucer Smear column that he now believed that Haut may have been the “loose cannon” at Roswell. His line of thinking may have exposed a motivation for Haut to tell this new tale.


Haut’s legacy?


We know that in 1947, Haut issued the press release but we are left grasping at straws on who authorized it. Was it Blanchard, Marcel, or, maybe, Haut just decided to make the release on his own? It has been pretty much confirmed, that Haut and/or the base command received some sort of rebuke for letting the press know about the recovery of a “flying disc”. Despite denials that he never received such a reprimand, it seems likely based on the reports in 1947 and recollections of Marcel Sr./Walsh. Haut resigned his commission in 1948 because he, according to what he told researchers, was going to be transferred from Roswell. There is another possibility (and this is simply speculation). Is it much of a reach to suggest that Haut’s military career may have been damaged by the Roswell event simply because he overstepped his authority or maybe because he told the media about the "two blistering phone calls"? In that scenario, he would have had to relive the moment where he made a critical mistake in judgement that cost him a future in the military. That might provide motivation for Haut’s actions over the past twenty-five years.

When the incident resurfaced, Haut might have realized that he had a chance to rewrite history where he was just following orders and he didn’t make a mistake. However, this would not be enough. In order to ensure that investigators chased crashed spaceships, he would have to help them find new witnesses with the right stories. As a result, he would talk about a switch at Fort Worth and help steer researchers to associates who would tell convincing stories that could be believed by UFOlogists. Unfortunately, those witnesses were found out and were discredited bringing into question his version of events. Without the tales of Dennis and Kaufmann to suggest something extraordinary happened at Roswell, Haut may have decided to create some new way to cement his Roswell legacy. He may have wanted to be remembered as a man who was at the center of one of the greatest events in human history and not that of a 1st Lt, who goofed in issuing a press release about a crashed flying disc that turned out to be weather balloon materials.