It seems to me that if a skeptic writes something that is anti-UFO, it is accepted as fact immediately. If a proponent writes something that is pro-UFO, it is rejected immediately. There is no criticism of the anti stance, just acceptance of it all and no acceptance of the pro stance, just a rejection of it.
Such is the case with the McKnight Affidavit. Philip Klass, in his monumentally inept The Real Roswell Crashed-Saucer Coverup, wrote, â€œImportant new evidence to further challenge [Frank] Kaufmannâ€™s story emerged in early 1997 in the form of a sworn statement by Jim McKnight whose Aunt Florence owned the ranch on which the flying saucer allegedly had crashed. McKnightâ€™s father owned the adjacent land. (McKnightâ€™s affidavit, dated February 3, 1997, was obtained by officials of the Roswell International UFO Museum, in response to Randleâ€™s challenge to the â€œnew Ragsdale impact siteâ€ west of Roswell.) In McKnightâ€™s affidavit he said, â€œNo one in my family had any knowledge of such a [UFO] crash or military retrieval… I cannot believe that a convoy of Army trucks and cars could have come and gone without them noticing. If they had seen it, they would have told us about itâ€ [emphasis in original].
No one pointed out the obvious flaw in Jim McKnightâ€™s thinking which was, simply, if it had happened â€œthey would have told us about it.â€ Well, maybe not. Families do keep secrets from one another, especially when they believe they are protecting their relatives.
The second flaw that is not so obvious, and not mentioned by Klass, is that Jim McKnight didnâ€™t live in Roswell at the time of the event. If he wasnâ€™t there, then he certainly could be telling the truth, as he knew it. He could honestly believe that nothing happened because he had seen nothing himself and heard nothing about it from the family. However, that is not quite the same thing as him having been in a position to see anything and report on it. If he wasnâ€™t there, then how does he really know who saw what?
Klass continued with his speculations based on limited information. He wrote, â€œIf there had been a military convoy, including a large crane to recover the crashed saucer, as Kaufmann claimed, it would have passed within a hundred yards of his Aunt Florenceâ€™s ranch house, McKnight told me during a telephone interview on March 21, 1997.â€ (McKnight ranch as seen in 1991).
All well and good, but how does McKnight or Klass know the route taken by the military to get to that site? How does he know that it would have passed within a hundred yards of the house?
Klass noted, â€œAccording to McKnight, although his aunt then resided in Roswell, where she taught school, during the summer months she usually [emphasis added] lived on the ranch.â€
So, according to what Klass had been told, McKnightâ€™s aunt might not have even been there in July 1947. She might not have been in a position to see the military as they passed within Klassâ€™ estimated one hundred yards.
Klass wrote, â€œHis aunt employed a hired hand to look after the ranch. He lived there permanently. Furthermore, there was no roadway west of the McKnight ranch that the military convoy could use to reach the â€˜impact site,â€™ because of a macho [this I believe is a reference to Macho Draw] â€“ a large creek be that often flooded. It was not until 1960 [emphasis in the original], according to McKnightâ€™s affidavit, that his aunt â€˜hired a bulldozer to build a crossing,â€™ over the macho that would enable cars to reach the Kaufmann â€˜impact site.â€™â€
Of course, the military convoy wouldnâ€™t have worried about roads nor would they need one to get somewhere. The military vehicles were built to operate on rugged terrain without benefit of roads. Besides, the desert out there is fairly flat and military vehicles would have been able to cross it without a lot of trouble. I remember driving cars across some of that desert without much trouble (and, of course, I remember having difficultly getting cars passed some of the dips and turns in the alleged roads there).
The fact that the road today… or rather in the early 1990s, came within a hundred or two hundred yards of the decayed and collapsed ranch house is actually irrelevant. The military didnâ€™t need roads to travel across the desert. If the road wasnâ€™t there, then Klassâ€™ estimate of the distance to the house is also irrelevant. Of course, none of the skeptics noted this.
McKnight said, â€œNever, never did the subject of such an event as the Roswell Incident come up for discussion. I know the people who settled in that harsh environment… No amount of military threats would have silenced them, especially when they talked among themselves.â€
Then, not happy with just suggesting that nothing happened out in that area based on the testimony of a single man who wasnâ€™t even there at the time, Klass wrote, â€œSeveral of Randleâ€™s still-credible witnesses had recalled seeing a military patrol near Highway 285, seemingly positioned to keep any unauthorized visitors from turning off and driving to the â€˜impact siteâ€™ on the McKnight ranch. But, if there had not been a UFO crash on the McKnight ranch, then the recollections of these witnesses were seriously flawed…â€
Believing the single witness who was not there, Klass now rejects the testimony of witnesses who were there based on the single witness beliefs. If a single witness tells the story the skeptic wants to hear, then the single witness is believed and all other witness testimony is rejected.
I know the question being asked now is, â€œWhy bring all this up today?â€
Well, for one thing, Iâ€™m tired of being attacked for sloppy research when the evidence against my research is rather thin. In other words, I am defending my reporting of the facts (or to prevent a long and convoluted discussion, the facts as reported by various witnesses).
But there is a second reason. While in Roswell, I learned of a local who talked about the Kaufmann impact site. This witness said that her family, the McKnights, who were related to the Corns who owned the land in the 1990s… said that when the crash happened, one of the McKnights went over to a neighbor and asked them if they wanted to see the â€œlittle people.â€ Before they could get out there, the military had sealed off the site.
Why is this important? Well, it refutes the McKnight affidavit that Klass relied on. It refutes the idea that the family didnâ€™t talk about this among themselves. It refutes the idea that the military couldnâ€™t get out there without the McKnights knowing… well, they couldnâ€™t because the McKnights did know.
At this point I just donâ€™t want to reveal the source and I understand that skeptics and proponents alike will reject this story simply because there is no name attached to it. Right now I am comfortable with that. Right now, the name of the source is not important… What is important is that skeptics and debunkers accepted the McKnight affidavit without critical comment.
And, no, I am not suggesting that we reevaluate the Kaufmann story nor am I offering this as evidence that Kaufmann may have had some sort of inside knowledge. I am only suggesting that Klass et. al. rejected testimony from Bill Rickett, Willliam Woody, and Walt Whitmore among others who said they saw military vehicles parked on the roads leading off Highway 285 because Jim McKnight knew nothing of a crash. Klassâ€™ conclusion that their memories were flawed was itself flawed.
And no, this does not take us to the extraterrestrial. It merely means that Klassâ€™ analysis of the situation is flawed, but I have seen nothing from the skeptical side questioning what he wrote. One man, who wasnâ€™t there in 1947 said nothing happened and Klass believed him. Those who were there in 1947 and who saw things themselves are rejected because, certainly, nothing could happened and therefore those who report it did, have flawed memories.
And maybe itâ€™s Klass who should be accused of sloppy research. He got the answer he wanted and stopped looking. Those of us who understand proper research realize there is always another question to ask. Thatâ€™s the only way to really do it. Thatâ€™s how we get to the truth and not just what we want to believe.