Fame from outer space

Submitted by WantToKnow.info on Sun, 22/07/2007 - 02:47

J. Bond Johnson is one of this newspaper's most famous photographers. He has been portrayed in Hollywood films and documentaries and discussed at length in magazine articles. His photos have been a prominent exhibit for almost two decades in a museum that draws 150,000 visitors a year. And they are "the most frequently requested images from our Fort Worth Star-Telegram collection -- really from all of our photo collections," said Brenda McClurkin of the University of Texas at Arlington Library of Special Collections. That's because on a warm afternoon in July 1947, Johnson, at the age of 21, took the only known photographs of the supposed remains of the UFO crash near Roswell, N.M.. What looked like beams of balsa wood and sheets of tinfoil were laid out on the carpet in the office of the airfield commander, Maj. Gen. Roger M. Ramey. Boxes around the office were thought to hold more wreckage that had not been examined. Ramey and Maj. Jesse A. Marcel, who brought the debris from Roswell, posed for pictures holding the material. After filling both sides of three glass-plate negatives ... Johnson, on deadline, rushed back to the paper, printed his photos, handed them -- still wet -- to his editors and went home. By sunrise the next morning, his photos of the shiny material adorned newspapers around the world, accompanied by a story that the Army had explained the wreckage as a fallen weather balloon. "I asked him one time if he believed the artifacts were from alien beings," said his daughter, Janith Johnson. "Having the conservative and religious background that he did, he said, 'I don't know, but it was like nothing I have ever seen on this earth.'"

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