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Author investigates Roswell

Tom Carey has spent years trying to decode what happened on July 4, 1947, near Roswell, N.M.

By Matt Sandy
For The Inquirer
Tom Carey has dedicated the last 16 years of his life to uncovering what exactly happened on July 4, 1947, outside Roswell, N.M.

Now, along with coauthor Don Schmitt, the Huntingdon Valley resident has published Witness to Roswell: Unmasking the 60-year Cover-Up, documenting his findings concerning the alleged extraterrestrial event.

A brief synopsis: During a lightning storm, something crashed outside of Corona, N.M., about 75 miles northwest of Roswell. The next day, a sheep rancher found the strange debris and traveled to Roswell to alert authorities and the media.

Also found at the site: several "alien" bodies, described by one eyewitness as "not from this earth."

A press release issued by the U.S. Army Air Forces - as the Air Force was then known - proclaimed that the 509th Bomb Group at the Roswell Army Air Field, the first officials at the scene, had "captured" a flying saucer.

That release was refuted within hours, however, by the Eighth Air Force Headquarters, which stated that the saucer was actually just a downed weather balloon. The bodies were later explained as full-sized mannequins used in high-altitude parachute drops.

Though the supposed coverup was enough to throw people off the case for almost 30 years, since the late 1970s, several books, television shows and even a movie have attempted to shed new light.

"The Roswell Incident has so many aspects of a great mystery," Carey said. "It's got bodies, crashes, witnesses, people getting threatened. It captured the attention of the entire world."

Carey's own immersion in the case began in 1991, after he retired from the insurance business. He volunteered to try to locate a team of archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania who were working in the New Mexico area at the time of the crash.

Later, in 1998 at a Center for UFO Studies meeting in Chicago, he offered to accompany Schmitt on a research trip to New Mexico.

"What we thought might be an over-plowed field was far from the case," Carey said. "We moved the case twice as far as it had been before. The witness pool now is over 600 people."

The findings of the only active Roswell investigators, according to Carey, turned into Witness to Roswell, which was published in time for the incident's 60th anniversary and the annual Roswell Festival.

"The goal was to write a book for those not already initiated in the Roswell case," said Carey, 66. "We wanted to do something that would interest the general public."

Though originally rejected by 11 of 12 publishers contacted, the book is in its fourth printing of 10,000 copies. And curiosity continues to grow.

After a recent interview on Art Bell's Coast to Coast AM show, Carey said logged 2,000 sales the next day.

It's not all kudos, though. The statements of one witness are being challenged by an early Roswell investigator, and Carey employs a caller I.D. system to weed out the occasional crank call.

What has made the book so explosive, Carey said, are two previously unreleased "smoking-gun documents." The new testimony includes the heretofore sealed affidavit of recently deceased First Lieutenant Walter G. Haut attesting to the bizarre debris and bodies recovered from the crash sight.

The second, a note scribbled by former Roswell Army Air Field base adjutant Patrick Saunders into a copy of Schmitt's previously published The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell, appears to confirm the Air Force's coverup of the incident.

Besides his work on the Roswell case, Carey served from 1986 to 2002 as the Mutual UFO Network's State Section Director for Southeastern Pennsylvania.

With a UFO hotline in his office, Carey investigated local sightings in the Delaware Valley. Though he said he once saw a UFO fly over his Huntingdon Valley home, the hotline received fewer than 10 calls a year.

"Delaware Valley is a dead zone," he said. "It doesn't mean they're not being seen; they're just not being reported."

Carey acknowledges that there are some "kooks" involved in the field of UFOlogy, but his mission has been to use science to take the fiction out of science fiction.

"This is a historical mystery that just happens to involve UFOs," he said.

A former anthropology student at the University of Toronto, Carey said he has always been more interested in the empirical evidence as opposed to intangibles such as alien abductions and crop circles.

After observing unusual soil displacement patterns during a recent excavation sponsored by the Sci-Fi Channel, Carey's team believes it found the "skip site" where the craft first hit before coming to rest about 30 miles away.

"Tom is a trained field investigator and an extremely valuable resource," said Jennifer Stein, a Pennsylvania State Regional Representative for the Mutual UFO Network.

"There are not too many people you can have an educated conversation about Roswell with. What happened there is extremely significant. . . . It's time to really examine the facts."

Carey and Schmitt are not yet satisfied.

"For us, solving Roswell is getting a piece of incontrovertible physical evidence," Carey said. "Or the Air Force comes clean, which we don't expect to ever happen."

Meet the Author

Tom Carey will sign books from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 835 Old York Rd., Jenkintown. To learn more about Carey's work, visit For more about the Mutual UFO Network, go to

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