The Mysterious Case of the Mummified Alien

UFO conspiracies are some of the most intriguing things out there. From the Roswell incident to vanishing jets, extraterrestrial life seems to pop up in our minds whenever strange things happen. But some conspiracists are so eager to discover aliens that they spiral into wishful thinking and begin to see things that aren’t really there.

The original Kodachrome slide showing the photograph of the alien/A sticker declares the existence of flying saucers from the window of a car parked on property near Jamul, CA, October 15, 2000./Boyd Bushman showing photographs of aliens from the time he worked in Area 51.
Source: Pinterest/Photo by David McNew, Newsmakers, Getty Images/Source: Youtube

When a collection of old slides found in an attic showed a disfigured body with a large, triangular skull, people began to wonder – could this be it? Could this strange-looking figure be proof of extraterrestrial life? A few avid alien researchers were determined to uncover the truth.

But things got really messy along the way. Let’s see what happened.

The Slides From the Attic

It all began with a man named Joseph Beason. Or, more specifically, his sister. Beason’s sister was hired to dispose of the belongings of a woman who had recently died. She rummaged through her belongings and cleaned out the house, but she didn’t have the heart to throw away the collection of old photos she found.

Hands of a woman discovering a treasure chest full of photographs and holding an old black and white photograph.
Photo by Nico De Pasquale Photography/Getty Images

The pictures were historically significant. They showed Bing Crosby, Clark Gable, several European towns, and even Dwight Eisenhower. She didn’t want to throw them out, so she decided to send the photos to her brother, Joseph, who had experience in book publishing.

A Dead Alien?

Beason projected the slides onto his wall and started flipping through the old pictures. He was in awe of the important figures in the photos and wondered who this woman was. And how exactly was she so close to Eisenhower? But while the walk down memory lane was enjoyable, Beason found his jaw drop over a different photo.

An alien-like statue displays a sign welcoming guests to the Little A'le' Inn restaurant and gift shop
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

He came across a slide that had been tucked underneath the rest and wrapped in parchment paper. He projected it onto his wall and gasped. What he saw was a small, withered body inside a glass case. The body had withered legs and a huge head with a long triangular skull. Could it be…an alien?

Dew Found the Ultimate Topic

Joseph Beason reported this discovery to Chicago videographer Adam Dew. “I have something to show you,” he insisted. Before the incident, Dew had never really given much thought to extraterrestrial beings or mysterious UFOs.

A pile of film slides for reproduction and projection.
Photo by Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

But the moment he laid eyes on that bizarre slide, he knew this was something huge. And he wanted to be the first to document it. He agreed to help Beason get to the bottom of it. That was the start of their investigative journey.

Who Was the Woman Behind the Photo?

Beason’s sister found those slides in the garage of a woman from Arizona named Hilda Blair Ray. The amateur detectives questioned why an ordinary woman from Arizona would have pictures of a potential alien. So, they started scanning nearby states and possible territories where she could have captured the photo.

The Welcome to Roswell sign greets visitors on the outskirts of Roswell, N.M.
Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

The closest place with any alleged connection to UFOs was Roswell, New Mexico, only one state away from Hilda’s home. In 1947, a UFO had supposedly crashed there, and many people across America believe that the U.S. government covered it up.

Could This Photo Be Related to the Roswell Incident?

The Roswell incident was one bizarre case. Witnesses described a flying saucer that broke into two wreckage fields and contained – believe it or not – dead aliens. The military announced a flying disk crash and then changed their version to an experimental weather balloon.

A copy of the newspaper reporting on the Roswell incident.
Source: Flickr

The Roswell incident was kept under wraps for many years, and not many people outside New Mexico knew it happened. But the story resurfaced in 1978 after a Canadian physicist named Stanton Friedman researched the case and released a documentary called UFOs Are Real. The film turned Roswell into an extraterrestrial mecca.

Tom Carey Was Skeptical at First

Beason’s next step was to contact Tom Carey, a retired businessman who had dedicated years researching the Roswell case. When Carey first heard about the slides, he was skeptical. He had been let down hundreds of times by phony evidence and doubted Beason’s material would be any different.

Tom Carey is standing in a room filled with books.
Source: Pinterest

Beason made things even fishier when he forced Carey to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Despite Carey’s reluctance, he agreed to sign and was then forwarded the creepy dead body slide. Just one glance at the discolored figure was enough to convince Carey that this was the real deal.

Child of Earth

It was the mark on the figure’s head that sealed the deal for him. He had seen this dark indentation before on an insect called el niño de la Tierra (child of the earth). But what do insects have to do with aliens? Well, according to one Roswell witness, three words connect them.

Tom and Don with Frankie Rowe, Jesse Marcel Jr., and members of the Mack Brazel family who were witnesses to the crash.
Source: Pinterest

Dan Dwyer, a Roswell firefighter who rushed to the crash site in 1947, claimed he had seen the aliens with his own eyes. When his kids urged him to describe how they looked like, he responded, “child of earth.” When Carey read Dan’s testimony, he tried to make sense of those three words, and they haunted him for years. But now, with Beason’s slides, he felt like he had finally found the answer.

The Body Looked Exactly Like the Alleged Aliens From the Roswell Incident

Carey convinced himself more and more that the body was indeed an alien. “When I saw that image and saw that marking on that body lying on the slab, it jumped right out at me. That’s what Dan Dwyer was talking about,” he told The Guardian.

A sign is announcing the UFO crash site at Roswell.
Source: Pinterest

“Also, the body looked exactly like what had been described to me by several eyewitnesses: frail, big head, et cetera. My first thought was: This has to be one of the Roswell bodies,” Carey concluded. He felt like it was time to dig up the Roswell incident and bring it back to life.

Everything Fell in Line

Carey was joined by Don Schmitt, a fellow UFO researcher who jumped on the opportunity to shed light on the new evidence. The duo took the slides to professors and experts. They ran the slides through drum scans to improve the photo’s quality and hired an illustrator to make a 3D image of the body.

Don Schmitt and Tom Carey is signing books and talking to visitors in the Roswell UFO Museum.
Source: Flickr

They even reached Kodak’s headquarters in New York to verify that the slides were indeed real and had not been tampered with. Astonishingly, Kodak told them that the slides were taken sometime between 1945 and 1950. The guys were thrilled. They were on the right track.

The President Had Met With Aliens

Now that the photo was verified and had been examined by several experts, it was time to look at the woman behind it – Hilda Blair. The boys discovered that Blair worked as an attorney for most of her life and was one of the first female graduates from the University of Minnesota’s law school.

President Eisenhower Sitting at Desk in Oval Office.
Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images

But her connection to Eisenhower was what interested them the most. Mainly because his granddaughter, Laura, once said that he had met with aliens while he was President. Beason and Dew suspected Hilda might have known his wife, Mamie. And their connection might have exposed Hilda to top-secret data, like an alien’s body.

“The More You Look at It, the More You Realize It Is Not From Earth”

Carey took the photo to his old associate, Richard Doble, a professor at the University of Toronto. Doble was startled to discover that the figure lacked a collarbone, had fewer ribs than a human, and its arms were attached to the top ribs.

Little kids looking at an alien model on display inside the museum in Roswell
Source: Pinterest

He grew more and more convinced that what they were dealing with was far from human. And it wasn’t only Doble who shared that view. Most people who saw the picture agreed instantly. They all felt that the more you inspect it, the more you realize it’s not from earth.

Extraterrestrial Life Is a Taboo Subject

Some folks raised eyebrows. Namely, renowned scientists who nodded their heads vigorously upon hearing the word “extraterrestrial.” Carey was worried people would mock the photos, or even worse – steal them and then ship them to the military to quiet things down.

A crashed UFO in the desert.
Source: Pinterest

Dew agreed with Carey. Flinging the photo around like that wasn’t the smartest thing to do. Many people, especially in Roswell, asked him questions like, “Does the government know you have this?” These inquiries took a toll on the UFO investigators, and they all grew paranoid.

Dew Lost His Mind

When people told the boys to “be safe,” they freaked out. Because seriously, is there anything more worrisome than that sentence? We don’t think so. Drew believed that influential people were after his slides, and he began to get a bit delusional.

Adam Dew is taking a selfie.
Source: Facebook

He suspected the white van that kept parking in front of his house. He questioned certain people’s looks and gestures. Drew’s wife felt like her husband was going crazy. And she wanted nothing to do with the whole UFO pursuit.

Dew Documented the Whole Investigation

Being a videographer, Dew knew that the smartest move he could do was create a documentary about it. So, he took the slides with him to Roswell and showed the photos to the witnesses’ relatives from the 1947 crash.

Adam Dew is standing beside his film camera.
Source: Facebook

He captured their pale, startled faces and filmed their shaky voices as they described how similar the photo was to their parents’ descriptions. Dew even managed to get a hold of an air force base veteran who claimed to have seen the aliens himself. “That’s what I saw in 1947,” the veteran told Dew after seeing the photos.

Anyone Can Be a UFO Researcher

The UFO community is packed with curious people. Almost every person in the community calls himself an “investigator.” Blogger and alien fanatic Kevin Randle explains, “You don’t need an advanced degree to be a UFO researcher.”

Boyd Bushman showing photographs of aliens from the time he worked in Area 51.
Source: Youtube

All you really need to sound believable is to post things on the Internet and back it up with “I’m a UFO researcher.” In a community full of enthusiasts from all areas of the world, it’s easy to see why opinions vary, which is why a lot of these alleged researchers end up turning on each other.

The Boys Were Afraid to Let the Community Know

It didn’t take long for word of the slides to reach the UFO community. Carey, Dew, Beason, and Schmitt were all worried they would be mocked and attacked for coming out with such an enormous claim. But, eventually, they had to come forward. Hiding wasn’t the answer.

Tom Carey and Don Schmitt are speaking at a conference.
Source: Pinterest

In November 2014, at a UFO conference at Washington D.C.’s American University, Carey came clean and informed the crowd he held a valuable piece of information. He told the audience about Hilda’s photos, her connection with Eisenhower, the Child of Earth mark, and how it all traced back to the Roswell incident.

People Roasted Them Online

In a matter of days, everyone in the UFO world knew about the photographed alien. But it looked like Carey spoke way too soon. Because no one had fully proved yet that the body was really an alien, so, he couldn’t flash the slides to whomever.

This is a road sign indicating where Alien Parking is, This is the original UFO crash site in Roswell, There are small UFOs on the sign with a large arrow pointing to the right.
Photo by Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

His secretive behavior got on people’s nerves. They insulted him on Reddit and other forums, calling him a charlatan and calling his whole claim “absolute bullsh*t.” One UFO blogger rolled his eyes in disbelief and described Carey’s act as a “carefully prepared scam.”

Carey and Schmitt Were Enraged

Both Carey and Schmitt were used to receiving criticism for their research. As a professor, those are things you must grow accustomed to, or else you’ll spend your whole career crying over other people’s words.

 Announcements for the speakers at the BeWitness conference, such as Thomas Carey and Don Schmitt.
Source: Facebook

But even though they were used to receiving backlash, the heat they got from the UFO community hit differently. Some insults were too much to take. Carey was called a “hemorrhoid with glasses.” Despite all the hate, Carey and Schmitt sucked it up and kept their heads high.

They Decided to Expose the Slides

The more people called them out, the more they felt the need to expose the slides and put everyone’s disbelief to rest. Finally, in 2015, they revealed the slides. They were approached by a UFO obsessed journalist named Jamie Maussan, who suggested they reveal it in front of a huge audience in Mexico City.

Jamie Maussan is speaking at the BeWitness conference.
Source: Reddit

Maussan pictured renting the city’s biggest theatre, the Auditorio Nacional, and selling a live stream of the event to people all over the world. He even came up with a name for the grand evening -“BeWitness.”

They Hated the Idea but Had No Choice

At first, Beason and Dew hated Maussan’s vision. It sounded like a hyped-up event that was too grandiose for its own good. But Maussan insisted, and he even offered to fund Dew’s alien documentary. Ultimately, the pair agreed.

The original Kodachrome slide is showing the photograph of the alien.
Source: Pinterest

Dew sent the eager journalist a scan of the slides, and Maussan quickly passed them on to Mexico’s National Forensic Institute. Researchers examined the photos and came back with 20 anomalies in the figure’s body that provided evidence that he was anything but human. A massive head, four sets of ribs, and the eyes’ weird location were only a few of the bizarre things they discovered.

BeWitness Was an Overblown Spectacle

On the 5th of May 2015, approximately 7,000 people attended BeWitness. UFO fanatics paid between $20 to $86 for a place in the overblown spectacle that lasted a little over four hours and featured a long list of speakers.

A slide from a PowerPoint presentation made at BeWitness 2015.
Source: Reddit

The evening’s highlight was Carey and Schmitt’s PowerPoint presentation, which was projected on two enormous screens. Professor Richard Doble added to their slideshow by testifying that the body was 100% not human. The crowd was hooked.

Not Everyone Was Present at BeWitness

The crowd was at a loss for words. They couldn’t believe their eyes and were absolutely taken by this mysterious-looking figure shown on the screen in front of them. Was this real? Was the world finally about to discover the truth about aliens?

Jamie Maussan is speaking alongside panelists at the BeWitness conference.
Source: Pinterest

Not everyone was happy with the event. The person who started all of this, Joseph Beason, ardently refused to take part in it because he found it too flashy and loud. He was right. It was pretty extravagant. They even had a person dress up as a huge alien and stroll the stage all night.

To Their Surprise, the UFO World Turned on Them

Carey and Schmitt believed that BeWitness would quiet down all the skeptics. But, boy, were they wrong. The photos surfaced on the Internet, and people went wild. They made remarks about suspicious things like the corner of a bench, which made the photo look like it was taken at a museum.

Image slides on a backlit table.
Source: Pinterest

The image also shows what looks like a reflection of a woman’s leg. No one was 100% sure what the deal was, but many people felt like the caged little figure was part of an exhibition that had little to do with aliens.

The Cat Was Out of the Bag

There’s probably nothing more embarrassing than announcing something to the world, only to have people debunk your claim a second later. And tragically, that’s exactly what happened to Carey and Schmitt. A little while after the photo spread online, someone came forward with contrasting information.

A photograph of the blurred place card.
Source: Reddit

The photo showed a blurred placard that none of the boys were able to decipher. But eventually, someone did. One person examined the image, deblurred it, and leaked the photo with his discovery. The mysterious placard read: Mummified Body of Two-Year-Old.

Oops… Awkward Much?

Further deblurring of the placard revealed additional information: “At the time of burial, the body was clothed in an (unreadable) cotton shirt. Burial wrappings consisted of these small cotton blankets. Loaned by Mr (unreadable) San Francisco, California.”

The picture is showing the ‘alien.’
Photo by Hilda Blair Ray

But the embarrassing revelation wasn’t enough to put the boys down. Carey believed the deblurring was phony. And Schmitt and Dew found it hard to believe that the placard had really been read. They accused the person who leaked the photo of messing around with the evidence.

R.I.P to the Roswell Slides

As time went on, more information about the picture was revealed. The donor was identified as SL Palmer, and government records showed that the body was discovered in 1896 near Montezuma Castle. Further evidence was found, including photos of the burial site and pictures of the body right after it was discovered.

an old photograpg of Montezuma Castle.
Source: Pinterest

The records pointed that the child was Native American, and his mummified body was located at the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum in Mesa Verde, Colorado. At this point, Dew, Beason, Carey, and Schmitt knew that their run was over.

An Amateur Investigation

As if Carey and Schmitt weren’t humiliated enough, the whole UFO community made sure to let them know how they felt, and they didn’t hold back one bit. UFO blogger and radio host Kevin Randle said, “The whole investigation was amateurish.”

Kevin Randle is smiling for a picture.
Source: Facebook

Carey and Schmitt had no choice but to apologize to the community, especially to the Roswell Slides debunkers whom they butted heads with for months. It was humiliating but necessary. They had to swallow their pride and come to terms with their situation.

They Blamed Dew and Beason

Carey and Schmitt were confused about how they could have been so sure that the figure in the photo was an alien. Immediately, thoughts about Beason and Dew came up. Did they dupe them? Did they intentionally blur the placard, making it impossible to read?

Kevin Randle is posing for a photograph with Casey and Schmitt.
Source: Facebook

Beason and Dew had only shown them a low-resolution image. And such low quality made it easy to overlook the fact that the photo was clearly taken in a museum. Maybe that’s why Beason didn’t go to BeWitness. He was too embarrassed to see everyone all worked up about a child mummy.

A Very Sophisticated Hoax

After careful deliberation, Carey concluded that Dew and Beason had fooled them. “It was a “very sophisticated hoax,” he told The Guardian, “Dew manipulated the slides. The one clue we couldn’t figure out was the placard, but they played hocus pocus with the placard. We were given something that had been altered.”

During the official opening of Extraterrestrial highway, Joe Travis, owner of Little A'le' Inn putting up an American flag next to space alien sign.
Photo by Mark Peterson/Corbis/Getty Images

Schmitt agreed, “These guys would tell you they were being upfront and honest, but they were controlling the slides.” But why would they do that? Well… why do people do anything these days? MONEY.

Dew Denied It All

Understandably, Dew denied it all. He was offended by Carey’s baseless accusations and insisted that he had always done his best to remain neutral about the images. He never claimed that the figure was an alien. He simply suggested it.

A clear photograph of the ‘alien’ body with a place card informing it is a 2-year-old boy.
Source: Pinterest

But that’s a pretty unfair response if you ask me. Dew encouraged the wacky conspiracies, from Hilda’s connection to the President to the Child of Earth speculations. Ultimately, he admitted in an interview, “I’m definitely guilty of not discouraging the talk [of it being alien]. It was good for the project.”

So the Photo Was a Mummy, but Was the Roswell Incident Fake Too?

Of all the UFO stories people have cooked up through the years, the Roswell incident remains one of the most intriguing and memorable ones. It continues to inspire much speculation and is talked about in various UFO forums and conferences.

A newspaper clipping with a Jesse Marcel photo, head intelligence officer, who initially investigated and recovered some of the debris from the Roswell UFO site in 1947.
Photo by Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

But what exactly happened in the summer of 1947? Did aliens really crash into the earth? Some people say yes. It was definitely a saucer from outer space. Others say no. It was a secret aircraft the military used to spy on the Soviet Union.

Here’s What People Agree On

With so many disparate opinions, it’s best to gather the points that are generally agreed on. In the Roswell case, people agree on the time of the crash (sometime between mid-June and early July 1947). And they agree on the location (Lincoln County, New Mexico, about 75 miles north of Roswell).

A sticker declares the existence of flying saucers from the window of a car parked on property near Jamul, CA, October 15, 2000.
Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers/Getty Images

People even agreed on the wreckage found (tinfoil, thick paper, and rubber strips). But when the government changed their statement from “flying saucer” to “weather balloon,” that’s when things started to get complicated.

Was It a Spying Device?

When the government restated their opinion, UFO researchers came forward with their doubts and speculations. “Weather balloon” sounded like a bunch of BS. According to initial U.S. air force reports, the wreckage pointed to a spying device created purposely for a project called Project Mogul.

Lowry Air Force Base. Launching of a 175-foot weather balloon.
Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images

The device was designed to float above the U.S.S.R. and detect sound waves so the military could follow the Soviet government’s every move. Because project Mogul was classified, the government had to come up with an excuse for the crash, and “weather balloon” was their best bet.

But People Claimed They Saw Alien Bodies

Eyewitnesses from the Roswell incident stressed that they saw alien bodies being carried away from the site. The government responded to those claims by explaining that the alleged bodies were actually fallen parachute test-dummies.

Visitors looking at different pictures of extraterrestrials at Little A'le' Inn, space alien-themed inn.
Photo by Mark Peterson/Corbis/Getty Images

Did that answer satisfy the witnesses? Not so much. Did it satisfy the UFO community? Not at all. People still believe that alien bodies were dragged from the site, and the government made up a bogus story to cover it all up.

The Worst Theory of Them All

Theory number three: The broken-down saucer was neither a spying device nor extraterrestrial. It was an intentional crashing sent to the U.S. by Joseph Stalin to create absolute chaos and panic among Americans.

A portrait of Joseph Stalin.
Photo by Albert Harlingue/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

This theory was suggested in the book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base. This kooky theory (which I really hope is wrong) includes Soviet soldiers deforming children to look like aliens, loading them on a flying saucer, and sending them over to crash in New Mexico.

If Stalin Did All That to Create Panic, He Failed

Historian Roger Launius is skeptical of that hideous theory. “There’s no evidence in any Soviet archives that there were such experiments as this,” Launius told History. “And if the intent was to generate panic, it failed utterly miserably.”

Roger Launius is standing before a spacecraft.
Source: Pinterest

It’s hard to understand what exactly happened that fateful summer of 1947. Most of the time, people believe what they want to believe. We view the world from a very biased perspective and mostly collect the data that works best for us.

What’s the Deal With Area 51?

Area 51 is the name used for the remote and highly classified United States Air Force facility in the Mojave Desert of Southern Nevada. All that secrecy has given rise to many theories and speculations about alien abduction, UFOs, and other mysterious activities.

Alien and Area 51 themed gifts are displayed for sale at the Little A'le'Inn restaurant and gift shop.
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

A concerning fact about Area 51 is that we’re not allowed to fly above it (although there are satellite images available online). So, is there any truth in it? We don’t know. But according to the U.S. military, Area 51 is “a flexible, realistic and multidimensional battle-space to conduct testing tactics development and advanced training.”

The UFO Above Lake Superior

On November 23, 1953, the U.S. Air Defense Command spotted a strange blip on the radar. This unidentified object was flying in a restricted area above Lake Superior. The military instantly sent a jet to investigate.

The unidentified object is flying over Lake Superior at night.
Source: Youtube

Ground control guided the officers to the unidentified spot on the radar, but the pilots struggled to locate it. It kept swerving around and changing its course. Ultimately, the two radar blips (military jet and unidentified object) vanished from the screen. The pilots vanished and never came back. No wreckage was found either.

What Is It About UFO Conspiracies?

So, why are we all so desperate for aliens to be true? Aren’t human beings and the thousands of species around us enough? Why do we quickly mistake mummified children for extraterrestrial beings? The reason is this – they’re the ultimate escapist fantasy.

An Extraterrestrial Highway sign covered with stickers is seen along state route 375 on July 22, 2019.
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The creepy thought of aliens existing is exciting, thrilling, and adds spice to our ordinary lives. And when you look at the universe and its infinite number of galaxies, it really feels like a no-brainer. We can’t possibly be the only intelligent life that exists.