Synopsis: On March 8, 2013, API received a package from a witness in New Mexico containing material samples from an alleged disk of extraterrestrial origin that crashed near Horse Springs, NM, on July, 2, 1947. Soon after, another witness, who originally discovered the crash site in the 1990’s, forwarded API additional documents regarding the crash, including topographic maps of the alleged crash site; and a photo of a strange symbol sketched on an aluminum beam that was also found at the site of the alleged crash. After completing an exhaustive investigation of the so-called Plains of San Agustin UFO Crash, we found no physical proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a craft of extraterrestrial origin crashed at Horse Springs, NM – but rather, we found evidence that a North American AT-6 Texan did. (Note: click on photos to zoom in)
Initial Case Review
Prior to opening the investigation, a case triage was conducted to ensure the case fell within the scope of APIs’s investigative process. The triage included the following criteria:
• Are the witnesses cooperative?
• Is there physical evidence?
• Was a photo or sketch provided?
• Did the event occur during the day rather than at night?
• Is the site accessible?
During the initial interviews, moreover, the first witness forwarded a report titled Analysis Report on Metal Samples from the 1947 UFO Crash on the Plains of San Augustine, NM. According to the report,
- The samples were all shards of aluminum with a tan, greenish-tan, and black outer coating.
- A small trace of possible carbon nanotubes, aka smart metals, was detected.
- And, Isotope ratios of one sample indicated its origin was possibly extraterrestrial.
However, because the scientific community did not vet the report, and more importantly, no documented chain of custody was provided, the report was discarded and the investigation was centered on the metal beam provided by the witness.
The Preliminary Investigation: Data Collection and Analysis
To prevent the waste of valuable resources and money, extensive research and analysis of reliable data was critical early during this investigation. Furthermore, as is the case with most investigations, it was essential to entertain alternative hypotheses. For example, rather than asking if a UFO crashed at Horse Springs, NM, it was important to find another plausible explanation to account for the San Agustin legend and, more importantly, the material found by the witnesses. The Preliminary Investigation, or PI, is summarized here as follows. During the PI, approximately 300+ hours of research and analysis was completed, including:
- Allege UFO activity near Horse Springs, NM, from 1944-1954
- Military activity for the same period near Horse Springs, NM
- Known aircraft crashes for the same period near Horse Springs, NM
- Interviews with local county officials, land owner, and other UFO researchers
- Collaboration with an Expert Aircraft Archeologist
- Overhead imagery and terrain analysis
- Historical weather reports, and
- Indices checks on UFO community databases, including MUFON, NICAP, CUFOS, API, and NUFORC
During the initial stages of data collection, we discovered that several UFO investigators, to include personalities from the TV show UFO Hunters, previously visited the crash site in hopes of finding answers to the San Agustin mystery. When no evidence of an extraterrestrial disk was found, their investigations were closed as unresolved and placed in abeyance. Additionally, we found several separate accounts of what allegedly happened in the vicinity of Horse Springs, NM, in early July 1947. The following are synopses of each story, and more importantly, the reasons as to why they were discounted as reliable:
- According to local lore, in the summer of 1947 a retired rancher from the Plains area was driving on NM 12 about 20 miles south of Datil, when he noticed a small child walking in a pasture near the highway. As he got closer, the rancher noticed the child was unlike any human child he had ever seen. The child, moreover, was not wearing children’s clothing, but a one-piece gray outfit. According to local lore, “the creature” had four long fingers, no thumbs, no ears, and fairly large black eyes. The rancher brought the creature back home, but it was not found the following morning.
Investigator Note: There are no dates, names, and an exact location regarding this account, and more importantly, the origin of this tale could not be traced. This testimony, therefore, was completely discounted.
- According to the second story, on/about July 1-2, 1947, Barney Barnett made his discovery of a shiny silver disk about a mile from NM Highway 12, within a mile of where the rancher allegedly found the strange child. According to second-hand testimony, Barnett said he came across a crashed disk and four dead alien bodies at the crash site. While at the crash site, Barnett also came across a group of archeologists. Soon after, an unidentified unit of the US Army arrived on site and took immediate control of the crash site. Additionally, our witnesses claimed that according to Barnett’s wife’s diary, this event must have occurred on July 2nd, 1947, because the diary noted Barnett was out on the Plains.
Investigator Note: This story was also discounted because there is no direct first-hand testimony. The story is hearsay, and more importantly, it surfaced 30 years after the alleged incident. Moreover, according to several previous investigations, no credible information was found to suggest a group of archeologists stumbled on the crash site. Furthermore, to place Barnett at the crash site because his wife noted in her diary he was in the area is pure speculation.
- In the early 1990’s, Gerald Anderson, under hypnosis, claimed to have found the crashed UFO in early July of 1947. According to Mr. Anderson, when he was five years old he and his family stumbled across the crash site and found a dull metallic UFO and four aliens (two alive and two dead). However, Anderson made no mention of archeologists at the site. Lastly, although he was only five years old at the time, Mr. Anderson, still under hypnosis, recalled the US Army taking control of the site.
Investigator Note: This story was discounted because it conflicted with the Barnett story. Anderson recalls that two of the aliens were alive and that the disk was not shiny as reported by Barnett, but rather dull with a greenish tint to it. According to Anderson’s family history, moreover, Anderson did not arrive in the Plains area until after July 4th, days after the alleged Barnett discovery.
To add more to the story, moreover, our witnesses alleged upon removing the debris from the crash site, the US Army covered the area with tons of metallic trash to confuse locals who would attempt to search the area with metal detectors. To date, the area is still littered with tons of rusted metallic trash.
Researching other Plausible Explanations
While researching the allege UFO crash at Horse Springs, NM, we came across various accounts of a USAAF L-3 Spotter plane that may have crashed near Horse Springs, NM, in 1947. Extensive research, including collaboration with the US National Archives, the USAF Accident Investigation Boards and the Aviation Archaeological Investigation and Research Group traced no reports of any L-3 accident near Horse Springs, NM, in 1947. During our research, however, we did come across an official USAAF report regarding an AT-6C Texan that crashed at Horse Springs, NM, in 1944. According to USAAF report 42-44280, on February 1, 1944, an AT-6C ran out of fuel and crashed one mile south of Horse Springs, NM, (now known as Old Horse Springs, NM). The report also indicated that the pilot, Lt. Eddie Magenheimer, was killed in the accident. Additionally, because other AT-6Cs were in formation along with Lt. Magenheimer, the crash site was quickly found and recovering operations were conducted the same day. After coming across official documentation of the AT-6C crash, we began to entertain an alternative hypothesis – that the debris found by our witnesses could perhaps be the remains of the AT-6C, rather than a craft of extraterrestrial origin. The aircraft recovery team at the time, moreover, would have also accounted for the reports of military activity described by locals.
Investigating the Crash Site
On April, 26, 2013, we met with the witnesses at the alleged crash site near Horse Springs, NM. After multiple interviews with our first witness, we confirmed the actual spot where the alleged UFO crashed and more importantly, the location where he and his archaeological team found the metal beam with the triangular symbol. From April 26-28, 2013, we conducted step-by-step evidence collection procedures to find physical proof that might substantiate claims of a crashed UFO. These efforts included:
- Forensic photography of the entire site
- Setting up standard evidence collection grid patterns at all three areas where the UFO allegedly touched earth
- Electronic, magnetic, and radio surveys
- Metal detection surveys
- Radiation detection surveys
- Digging and excavation of potential evidence
- Collection of control samples, including soil and vegetation
- As well as multiple interviews and re-enactments with locals.
After a thorough investigation of the alleged crash site, we found no physical or trace evidence of an object of extraterrestrial origin. Moreover, an exhaustive search of the exact location the witnesses found the aluminum beam proved fruitless as well.
Identifying the Beam and the Strange Symbol
With no additional physical or trace evidence to continue the on-site investigation, the focus shifted to identifying the beam – as well as the strange triangular symbol on the beam. During the investigation, we forwarded several photos of the aluminum beam to the Aviation Archaeological Investigation and Research Group. Trey Brandt, an expert aircraft archeologist, informed me that he and the Aviation Archaeological Investigation and Research Group were positive that the beam was from an aircraft, specifically, from the era in question (1940’s). In an effort to positively identify that the beam was from an AT-6C, we contacted the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) to request a copy of an AT-6C maintenance manual. One week later, DTIC provided API a copy of T.0.TT-6C-2 dated August 5, 1944, which is the official manual for the AT-6C. Upon careful review of the entire manual, which was over 400 pages, we came across the maintenance section of the AT-6C depicting the photographic equipment portion of the aircraft. Attached to the aircraft bulkhead was an intervalometer, which in turn was attached by a beam that identically matched the one found by our witnesses. Identifying the beam, however, was only half the answer. In an effort to positively identify that the beam was that from an AT-6C, we also had to identify the triangular symbol. API turned back to DTIC and requested a parts manual from North American Aviation, the manufacturer of the AT-6C. After combing through the AT-6C parts manual from North American Aviation, we came across a section regarding “aviation bolts” and found the same exact triangular symbol found on the beam. This symbol, which was likely a marker’s mark, was placed on the beam to ensure an NAS464 aviation bolt was used during assembly of the aircraft.
Identifying the Trash
As mentioned earlier in this report, according to both local lore and our witness’ testimony, immediately upon retrieving the crashed UFO, the US Army dumped tons of metallic trash to hide evidence of a crashed UFO and to confuse would-be UFO hunters with metal detectors. After thoroughly analyzing the trash, however, we confirmed that the trash at the crash site was from the 1960s to the 1980’s – and not from the 1940s.
A thorough investigation, coupled with exhaustive research and analytics, ruled out a UFO of extraterrestrial origin crashed near Horse Springs, NM. In the end, the investigation concluded:
- Previous testimony regarding the allege UFO crash was unreliable; and the initial metal analysis provided by the witnesses were discounted due to chain-of-custody issues.
- During our expedition to the Plains of San Agustin, no physical or trace evidence was found to suggest an extraterrestrial craft crashed at Horse Springs, NM.
- There was, however, wreckage from an AT-6C found at the site. Credible reports, moreover, indicate an AT-6C crashed near Horse Springs.
- Reports of a crashed disk likely resulted from a convergence of fact and local lore; coupled with false memories and other alleged UFO crashes in the area, including Roswell, NM.
Given all the information collected and analyzed, it is likely no UFO crashed at Horse Springs, NM, but rather an AT-6C piloted by Lt. Eddie Magenheimer. A