Kenny Young: Tell us a little about Larry Rogers and Curt Robinson. What are your educational and occupational backgrounds, and have either of you had any previous writing or research experience?
Larry Rogers: I am from Terre Haute, Indiana, born in 1950. I graduated from college in '72 with a degree in electrical engineering. I went straight into Uncle Sam's Army after graduation from college, and it was in Uncle Sam's Army where I had my first little encounter that got me interested in the UFO topic. I have no experience in writing books, prior to this. I do have a lot of experience at writing, in terms of technical writing and training materials, and speaking before groups of people... but this has been my first attempt at something like this.
Curt Robinson: Well I'm from Michigan, born in 1946 and attended Michigan State University, engineering. I went into business in 1971for the first time with a consulting firm. Later went into construction and after that, management consultant. I've been in Cincinnati for 15 years, married for 30 years with 4 children. Larry and I enjoy doing exciting things. That's why we became involved in something this exciting. We do a lot of reading, and we're both real interested in mysteries...
LR: That's just the engineer in us. We like to figure out how things work. A mystery is the same thing. We want to figure out how it works.
CR: We don't always believe everything we read. That could be either an advantage or disadvantage.
Chris Coffey: How did you guys hook up?
LR: Going back about five years ago, I lived in South Carolina, working freelance in project management at various plants as a contractor. I received a call from a guy I had worked with on a few projects, he wanted me to come to Cincinnati and work on a project that was going to last a couple of years. I made the big decision to leave the sunny south to come to Cincinnati and work on that project. Upon arrival here, I discovered an 'old coot' that would be sharing an office with me...
CR: An old coot or a young coot?
LR: An old coot. We worked a couple of years together. That's how we met. We would frequently chat and discover areas of mutual interest...
CR: We became working partners, so to speak. Then, after we completed that project, we continued to get together once or twice a week for brunch at Bob Evans Restaurant. We were regulars there -- they had a table with our name on it. Many fascinating subjects would arise. One day, the subject of UFOs came up.
LR: As is recall, my interest was sparked by a comment from my brother, who had told me about the Alien Autopsy movie that had aired recently on television. I rented a copy and, to be honest, I found it really strange. So at our next brunch I think I mentioned to Curt something like 'Wow, I saw the strangest thing on TV last night, and this thing supposedly happened in 1947... where the hell have I been all these years that I didn't know about this?'
Curt was already familiar with the topic, and he told me that he had a collection of books on the topic, including a signed copy of a book by Kevin Randle. He said that he would lend it to me so I could get all caught up on the Roswell UFO topic. That's as far as our discussion went at that point.
KY: So you had no previous interest in Roswell?
LR: I had never heard of it before.
CR: I had a prior interest, yes, from the standpoint of having read that book. I found it an interesting subject. Anything that's scientific in nature and theory I have an interest in. You should see my library. It seemed like that the book had a lot of factual data, so that's why I bought the book. At brunch, we began talking about Roswell -- what happened there -- what we thought might have happened there.
Anyhow, I was planning a family vacation to Costa Rica. I asked Larry to come along, and we were actually thinking about the timing and so forth. But, at each of our meetings, the subject of Roswell began to dominate the discussion. We each started reading anything we could find on the topic. It finally got to the point one day where Larry just said Let's just go to Roswell and see what it's like. Just to say we've been there, walk on the soil...
LR: Breath the air they breathed... that sort of thing.
CR: We scrapped the Costa Rica vacation idea and went to Roswell. The kids were disappointed, but on we went. That's how it started.
Broken boulder that marks the Ragsdale Crash Site taken in 1996
KY: So once out there you stumbled onto something.
LR: Not on the first trip. On the first trip, we came away from there wondering 'what the heck is all this about?' because it wasn't what we had expected. You've seen the stuff on TV shows and read the books about the crash site and how you can tour crash sites, right? Well, we go out there and drive into downtown Roswell and there is the UFO museum, just as we expected. So we walk in, and the first thing we want to know is 'where's this crash site and how do we get there?'
They ask 'which crash site are you talking about?' So, picture this. I'm looking at Curt and he's looking at me, as if asking how many crash sites are there, anyway?
CR: We just wanted to see it.
LR: We found everything like that out there, dueling museums and dueling crash sites.
CR: You go to buy a hamburger and find 'Alien Burgers' for sale.
LR: So we came back and thought something was wrong with this picture.
KY: Now what year was this?
CR: 1996. And at that time, we had no idea of writing a book -- never thought of it. We just wanted to walk the soil where this all happened. We weren't writers, obviously, but we were curious -- how could there be more than one crash site? All of a sudden, it was like the Randle and Schmidt book no longer was the Bible, because now we had the Jim Ragsdale story and other theories. In fact, we came back from Roswell confused, asking what's wrong with this whole picture?
LR: We were humored by things like the dueling museums each having their own crash site. We thought we would get up to the Ragsdale crash site and there would be a popcorn stand up there and the FBI would be selling hot-dogs. It was hard to take much of this seriously on that first trip. We were both disappointed and confused. The books are so believable and seemingly factual, and yet you can get out there and find that everyone has got their own spin.
CC: Do you think that from the beginning you could have been somehow 'driven' to find the truth?
LR: For me, it was a case of coming back from all the disillusionment and going back to the books, asking 'how does this guy come to this conclusion while this other guy over here is going down this track? They're on different tracks but using the same names and same witnesses, and coming up with different stories. And the interesting thing about it is they trash each other...
CC: So it's more of a mystery you wanted to solve?
LR: Initially, yes. It was a real mess out there. We went back to the books, and we started to see new things the second time around. We decided to set up a spreadsheet and put each of these in a computer database. We wanted to see if there was some pattern to the way one writer would draw one conclusion, while another writer uses the same witnesses and goes off in a totally different direction.
CR: What actually possessed us to go there in the first place is an interesting question.
LR: The first trip was in June or July of 1996. In about October of 1996 we had decided to go back, because we had wanted to see the crash site where the owner would take you out on the land. We found it too coincidental that the one museum sends its customers to a crash site located in a national forest where there is no issue with a land owner -- that was a little too commercial for us. We wanted to see both sides of the story. So on that second trip we called the owners of the crash site referenced in the Randle and Schmidt books -- Hub and Shiela Corn. The site is located about seven miles off of Route 285, north of Roswell.
CR: And in the meantime we had already started quite a bit of research, some out of curiosity, trying to follow-up and figure out what was wrong with this whole picture.
LR: Actually we began that trip at the University of New Mexico map center. We thought it would be cool to get some contour maps of various areas that we wanted to look at so we could take notes on where we had been and what we had seen. Asking for directions on campus, we were directed to the Engineering building where the map center is located on a downstairs level. We went down the escalator... and then a real surprise hit us. The name of the map center...
CR: MAGIC. It stands for Meteorological and Geological Information Center. Right above the door, real big letters. We got a chuckle out of that.
LR: We spent a whole day there copying maps. At the end of the day, we rolled them all up, put them into two large tubes, and left. We spent that night in Albuquerque. I had been trying to call the Corn's for a couple of weeks, but kept getting their recorder. We were not able to connect until that night from the hotel, when I finally received an answer. Sheila Corn agreed to meet with us on Saturday morning. It was very nice of her to squeeze us in at 8 a.m. on a day when her kids had a soccer match. The next day was Friday, and we spent most of it driving down to Roswell. On Saturday moring, we rose early and ate breakfast at the Nothin' Fancy restaurant, which had become our favorite breakfast spot by this time. We decided to get on the road by 7:30, allowing us plenty of time to drive north about 20 miles to the turnoff, where the 'UFO Crash Site' sign is located. You have probably seen the sign in books. We arrived at the turnoff at about 7:45 a.m. Remember, the Corn Ranch is the Randle and Schmidt crash site.
We were a good bit early. In the month of October and there isn't much tourist traffic out in the desert. Now, I'm talking 'seriously nothing' out in this area. There are places out in the desert where you could take your radio dial from one end to the other without picking up anything but dead silence. Sheila had instructed us to pull off near the 'UFO Crash Site' sign and wait until she arrived. So there we sat in a rented white jeep, waiting. There was dead silence. Finally, in the distance we could hear a car approaching. A vehicle came into sight. It was a red jeep, and it slowed as it got near, finally pulling in right behind us and parking.
CR: Now, we're sitting in the middle of nowhere -- there isn't even a tree out there.
LR: So I get out of the car and walk back to this jeep, but I can't see inside because it has dark tinted windows. An automatic window comes down half way, and I see that this jeep is just full of people. There must have been six people in there. I said to the driver, You must be Hub,assuming this was our host for the tour. The driver says 'who?' So, I ask Are you Hub Corn, the owner of the ranch? He said, no, I never met him. I apologized, and scurried back to the Jeep. I closed my door and told Curt that it wasn't our host, and I didn't know who it was.
CR: You even asked him if he was there to meet the Corn's.
LR: That's right. I also asked if he was there for a tour, like us. He said, no, I'm not here for that. At first, I thought maybe he was just checking his maps, or he was lost or something. Anyhow, he sat there until after 8:00, a total of 15 or 20 minutes. He just sat there. At about 8:10 a.m. he backs out and leaves, and right then Sheila drives up in a white Suburban.
KY: So what do you make of that?
LR: What do you make of it?
CR: It's interesting.
LR: It's in our book, just another one of those little stories. We followed Sheila for several miles. As we got closer, we could immediately recognize the huge basin that has been a part of many television programs. This was the place. There's a marked trail with stakes and rope all along it to keep people on the trail. Up on the rocky wall at the far end of the basin, they have placed small American flags. This is supposedly where the aliens died.
CR: That's interesting, too. We have some of the dialogue between ourselves and Sheila in the book. We asked her many questions, all of which she responded to. To some, she clearly told us she is not an expert, but she told us of her understanding.
Larry with Sheila Corn at the Corn Ranch crash site taken in 1996
CR: Yes, we surely did. I remember asking where the craft came in from, and she explained where it ended up. She always qualified herself by saying that she never had any data that proves what happened at this site, sort of like a disclaimer by always saying: I'm not an expert, only repeating what I've been told. She explained how it came in from that way, skipped here and hit the rock there. I told her that it must have been going pretty fast to skip 35-miles, and she agreed, saying it was her understanding that it really moving fast. But it's really interesting that it hit this particular area because of the area... it's all oil wells through there. Everywhere.
CC: How far from the Gerald Anderson site is that?
CR: Oh, that's Socorro, 125 miles away.
LR: That's the Plains of San Augustin. This may also be a valid site, depending upon what you have read and believe.
CR: Out of all of these crash sites,there is one that everyone seems to agree upon -- that something happened at the Corona debris field. It's just a matter of WHAT happened there. You have that site, the Corn Ranch site (Randle and Schmidt) which is 35-miles southeast, and the Capitan Mountain (Ragsdale/museum) site, which is essentially southwest of the Corona debris field, roughly 25 miles.
CC: Do you make a correlation between these sites?
CR: Yes. Socorrow and the Plains of St. Augustin -- they both sit on the 34th parallel latitude. They are almost on the exact same line as Corona.
LR: And, wasn't there an Air Force base out in that area in those days? South of there by about 20-miles or so?
CR: Not sure. So, we're looking at many debris fields and many different theories. Some say two objects collided, going down in different places. That's what is so confusing to us. How can you have all of these so-called true stories that are so different?
CC: And different dates, too?
CR: The dates range from June 24 to July 7 or so...
CC: And the number of bodies, too...
CR: The number of bodies vary, but we're not talking about bodies here. We're looking at where this thing happened, that's the part that blows your mind. How can all this be? How could Barney Barnett say that he saw this at a certain time over there and Ragsdale with Trudy in the back of a pickup truck see something someplace else? Something has got to be wrong here... unless we had a whole series of UFOs all run into trouble, crashing all over the place.
LR: Instead of just picking up one book, we reviewed many. They all say different things, one guy says not to believe what the other guy says. We started wondering: why would Barnett lie? Why would Ragsdale lie? And we began wondering...
CR: What if they are ALL telling the truth? We have these camps, the Corn Ranch camp with Schmidt and Randle, and the San Augustin Camp with Friedman, and you have the Ragsdale Camp... what if they are all telling the truth? Is that possible? And we're not just talking locations, we're talking what they saw.
KY: So you had the locations, the general layout of different stories. What enabled you to connect these elements and draw a larger picture?
LR: The thing that stood out was how none of these witnesses profited from their testimony. I don't think Ragsdale lied, I don't think Mac Brazel lied about Corona, I don't think Barney Barnett lied about the Plains of San Augustin, and I really don't think the people at the Air Force Base lied about what they saw. I don't think you have any liars here, because nobody profited. There's no motive to lie...
CR: That's probably how we were able to solve it -- by assuming that the people closest to the events were not lying, but were in fact telling the truth. We didn't belong to any camp. We looked at this from a purely scientific standpoint, from a factual standpoint. And when you ask how they could all be telling the truth, then your mind begins to work. Then you can make some ground when you forget about what side you're on. When Larry and I are done here, we'll have a whole lot of people going down the right track, and that's scary for some people.
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