A bit of a break from the religious angle.

Those of you familiar with the tale of an alleged UFO crash in Roswell, NM, in 1947 (and of course you are if you’ve read The Facade!) will be interested in this item.  One of the elements of the Roswell story concerned the recovery of metal fragments by Col. Jesse Marcel, the central figure in the controversy. Marcel reported that he had recovered pieces of metal that, when scratched or crumpled (they were very light) returned to their original form — as thought it “remembered” its original form. There have been suggestions (other than alien material) as to what this “memory metal” was. One of the more plausible is that it was an unusual nickel-titanium alloy developed here on earth as far back as 1932 called Nitinol. Well, nitinol and Roswell are back in the news with the appearance of this article in Sarasota’s Herald Tribune, by Billy Cos, with whom I had the privilege of sharing a room at the lone X-Conference I was invited to speak at. It seems certain files on nitinol are missing from the two places that should have them: the U.S. Air Force and the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, OH, where a number of experiments on nitinol were undertaken.

For those who read the article, there are several interesting things about it. FIrst, here’s a summary of the problem:

At issue are some missing reports from Battelle’s study of a nickel/titanium alloy called Nitinol, renowed for its resilience as a “memory metal.” Contracted by the U.S. Air Force to assess and exploit its compelling properties in the late 1940s, Battelle participates in or manages six national laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy, including Oak Ridge, Lawrence Livermore, and Brookhaven.

The problem is, neither Battelle nor the USAF can produce copies of what the scientific literature refers to as the “Second Progress Report on Contract AF33 (038)-3736.”

Billy goes on to write, “Bragalia suspects that’s because the data is still highly classified due to its source — a flying disc that crashed outside Roswell, N.M., in 1947.” So, Mr. Bragalia thinks that the crashed disc of Roswell fame/lore was (at least in part) composed of nitinol. Could be.

In The Facade I put forth the idea that the disc was man-made and derivative of Project: PAPERCLIP. Nick Redfern followed that trajectory (independently) in his important book, Body Snatchers in the Desert, where Nick dealt with how the Japanese Fugo program and the infamous Japanese bioweapons UNIT 731 (both of which had scientists tapped by the U.S. under PAPERCLIP) were likely both part of the plan to create a nuclear-powered flying disk after WW II. (I have reviewed Nick’s book in detail here). Note in the above paragraph that nitinol can be linked to Oak Ridge Laboratory — a place that plays a key role in Nick Redfern’s book.

Probably the main item of interest in Billy’s story is that, if nitinol is indeed the mystery “memory metal” from Roswell, then this argues very strongly against an alien craft. Why? Since nitinol was known here on earth since 1932. Billy details how Bragalia’s research uncovered a USAF vet named Ben Games, who “flew Gen. Laurence Craigie to Roswell during the furor over the alleged UFO recovery” and how Craigie had an office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1947, where everyone agrees the Roswell debris, whatever it was, wound up. BIlly then asks:

[I]f, as skeptics contend, the thing that went down in Roswell was simply a classified but hardly exotic balloon project, why did Craigie make a hurried flight to New Mexico from Washington?

Let me suggest an answer which doesn’t involve aliens, and which makes good sense in the context of what I suggested in the Facade and, more importantly, the work Nick Redfern has done: He went because he [Craigie] knew of a highly-classified project involving a disc-shaped craft that employed the use of nitinol, a metal that had the properties described by Col. Marcel. When Craigie heard the reports and did the math, he knew that the project had to be kept under wraps and attention diverted.

Moving on, Billy’s article notes that, although some key files (specifically the “Second Progress Report” are missing, Mr. Bragalia found “four references to [nitinol’s] existence in 1952, 1965, 1972, and 1984.” I’m not sure where Mr. Bragalia was looking, but there are a lot more references to nitinol in military-related literature than this. A simple search of the NASA Technical Reports database reveals 38 documents that mention nitinol. Naturally, due to NASA’s own history, the earliest is only in 1969. Interestingly enough, after wading through one of them myself, I discovered nitinol is very radiation-resistant — something that was a focus point of the work at Oak Ridge and Redfern’s reconstruction of the marriage of the FUGO project to a PAPERCLIP flying disk project.

Lastly, this statement by Billy Cox got my attention:

Curiously, Braglia says military reports announcing the unveiling of Nitinol as a memory metal cite every year from 1959 to 1963 as its point of discovery. The last word from the U.S. Naval Ordnance Lab lists its debut as 1962 or 1963.

It may not look like much, but this item suggest something very important: that a number of people who we would think SHOULD have known about nitinol and its military application (it was around since the 1930s) simultaneously betray ignorance of it. What does that mean? It means that people you’d expect to know something about a material (or a project) were not privy to information that it would seem there was no way they wouldn’t have known. One of the objections to man-made UFOs related to Roswell or the late 1940s and 50s is that “surely these projects could not have been kept from highly-placed, important people working in military aircraft projects.” My answer is of course this is possible — PAPERCLIP is Exhibit A in that regard — a project kept secret (in its actual, operative form) from even the president. Here we have several military-industrial complex scientists thinking they’ve discovered something that’s existed for decades, known by others within the same military! My, how news doesn’t travel when certain people don’t want it to.