• David Marler, noted RR ufo researcher, is looking for space to house his growing UFO collection

    David Marler at home, surrounded by a small portion of his collection. (Herron photo)


David Marler, the Rio Rancho’s “resident UFOlogist,” is among a dozen guest speakers headed to Roswell for its annual UFO festival July 1-3.

What’s cool about this event, Marler said, is it marks the 75th anniversary of that famous “Roswell Incident” of July 1947, when pieces of a UFO that crashed near Corona, N.M., were retrieved, as many as four “alien bodies” reportedly gathered and sent to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, and the U.S. government vehemently denied any such thing happened.

It was a weather balloon. Don’t worry, citizens were told. After all, why else would the Army Air Force cordon the area off and remove all evidence?

But almost 30 years later, the USAF released a 25-page report saying the alleged UFO materials found on a ranch not far from Roswell had been parts of a special, top-secret balloon project designed to detect Soviet nuclear activity.

Coincidentally, in the last two weeks of that June, hundreds of UFO sightings were reported from as far east as Glens Falls, N.Y., to Yakima, Wash.

Marler has a huge, and still growing, collection of UFO materials and reports of sightings – but he’s not merely a collector, he’s a historian and researcher.

“Quite often, we talk about the archive – documents, case files, books, journals – but the other thing I try to do, I’m not only an archivist, I’m a researcher … and I try to track down these witnesses,” he said.

He’s never seen a UFO and: “I’ve got more questions than answers. I’m interested in facts and data.”

Collectively, he said, UFOlogists “always take a conventional approach to an unconventional topic.”

Four Corners episode has credibility

From his research about a March 1950 incident, the topic of one of his presentations in Roswell, seems difficult to refute.

“Multiple eyewitness cases definitely raise the bar of credibility, as opposed to a solitary witness,” he said.

Marler will talk about what happened over a three-day span in Farmington, N.M. 72 years ago. Marler believes the incident was basically overlooked for decades, which he termed an “egregious oversight.”

He said UFO researchers, himself included, prefer cases that have collaborative testimony rather than one eyewitness report – and the Farmington incident had hundreds, if not thousands, who witnessed the bizarre events.

Over a thousand residents of the area witnessed what was described as a fleet of “flying saucers” – from 200 to 500 in all – hovering and maneuvering in the sky.

One of them, Marlo Webb, was interviewed by Marler in 2016, who told him that despite being more than 90 years of age, he still had a sharp mind.

In March of 1950, Webb worked in the parts department of the Perry Smoak Chevrolet Garage. One morning, he saw a handful of people outside, looking and pointing to the sky. Webb was curious so he stepped outside, looked up, and saw 15 to 20 soundless “objects” moving from east to west.

Webb told Marler there seemed to be an intelligence to them, as they remained in a purposeful and tight formation, occasionally making extremely tight turns.

He said he was later interviewed by military personnel over the next few days. Rumors of intimidation and warnings to “stay quiet” circulated.

An edition of the Farmington Daily Times had a story – with the headline, “Huge ‘Saucer’ Invasion Jolts Farmington” — about the first day’s incident, but no follow-up stories. The newspaper’s business manager was quoted in the story as having seen “about 500” objects in the sky.

“Farmington ‘Invaded’ By Saucer Squadron” was the banner headline in the March 17 edition of the Santa Fe New Mexican, with the subhead, “Citizens See ‘Hundreds’ Over Town.”

Then, just after 10 a.m. on March 17, reports of a group of “flying saucers”  flooded the police switchboard, with reports ranging from five to nine objects seemingly heading in a northeast direction. Within 30 minutes, “hundreds of objects” were visible to the west from the center of town. A few reports referred to some of the objects being in in a “tussle” or “dogfight” overhead. Many reports termed the objects “silvery discs,” and a few stated that a larger, red disc was an obvious leader of this cosmic squadron.

Another eyewitness said the objects were traveling around “10 times faster” than modern jet planes and they “came at each other head-on,” only to avoid each other at the last moment.

Similar UFO reports that March came from Tucumcari, Las Vegas, Los Alamos and Santa Fe, as well as Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque – plus Colorado, Texas and Mexico.

And Marler found – six decades later – another eyewitness, at the time a student at an Aztec elementary school, who vividly recalled seeing objects in the sky for three consecutive days while out on the playground. He said they were stretched across the sky and lined up in a quilt pattern like double-six dominoes.

There’s “no shortage of eyewitness testimony in this case,” said Marler.

Marler had the opportunity to review unclassified United States Air Force “Spot Intelligence reports” and found references to the sightings about the Smoak garage and knew of such by April 25, 1950.

Another great story

Marler will also talk about the “Battle of L.A.,” which occurred on the West Coast during the early days of World War II.

“In my opinion, the most-compelling cases are multiple-eyewitness cases involving radar,” he said. “Admittedly, skeptics will tell you – and I agree; I’m willing to meet them halfway – eyewitness testimony can be sketchy.”

The Feb. 25, 1942, Battle of L.A. involved not only thousands of eyewitnesses, but also military radar.

It happened shortly after a Japanese submarine shelled oil fields near Santa Barbara, not far from Los Angeles. Then, it was widely believed: “It’s not a matter if the Japanese are going to attack the West, it’s just a matter of when.”

“Here you have tens of thousands of witnesses to something. Hysteria was an element, because we have lots of conflicting reports from that morning,” Marler said. “A lot of skeptics will dismiss it as just hysteria. That was one of two official explanations of what played out … one was jittery war nerves and the other was there were planes or something in the greater Los Angeles area.”

After World War II, Japanese officials, including the commanding officer of the sub that shelled the oil fields, denied they’d had any involvement in what people saw in the sky.

“I would argue, by far, the whole Battle of L.A. created way more hysteria than the shelling of this little obscure oil field … If anything, you would have taken credit even if you didn’t do it.”

Marler has a legitimate photograph, showing explosions from shells being fired by U.S. anti-aircraft guns from below at a large object. More than 1,400 rounds were fired.

“We have objective data, in the form of the photograph, and we have objective data in the form of three separate radars that were tracking an inbound target for 120 miles, moving towards the Los Angeles area,” he said. “That’s what precipitated the blackout.

“They never really investigated it thoroughly,” he said. “They never came up with one solid, conclusive explanation.

The Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, claimed it was a false alarm caused by jittery war nerves, Marler said, quoting official accounts from 80 years ago. “Secretary of War Henry Stimson stated 15 spy planes flew over L.A.; that that there was one or more enemy aircraft operating,” quoting the Herald-Express account.

It moved too slow to be an airplane and too fast to be a blimp, and, if the latter, how could it not have been shot down – as no remnants were seen falling from the sky or on the ground.

“I talked to a witness that was alive in the 1990s and he said that it looked like there were direct hits on or around this thing,” Marler said.

Marler has the actual CBS Radio broadcast heard that week 80 years ago.

The object reversed direction and was fired upon again … before “disappearing again” over the ocean.

“We can’t definitely say it was the same one,” Marler said, considering its disappearance from radar screens.

“More damage was done by our own shrapnel coming down: punching through ceilings and roofs, and cars. But this is a fact, (neither the U.S. nor Japan) had any planes in the air.

“No shots were fired, and no bombs were dropped by the ‘invaders,’ and no wreckage found, either,” Marler read from official U.S. military documents. “They weren’t thinking UFOs back then, and this doesn’t consider any other possibility.”

Worse, “Five people died that night from vehicular accidents and heart attacks. … Some people were trying to drive during the blackout without their lights on and crashed into things.”

Those are two of his favorite UFO stories, both hard to refute.

Marler’s toughest research is ongoing. He is trying to find space, such as an empty storefront,  to house his enormous collection, hopefully in Rio Rancho, where it could be a destination for researchers and even families who want to see something other than the hokey green men you can see in Roswell.

This spring, Marler went to Arizona to make a presentation and returned with a rental truck filled with more material. Upon his death, the entire collection will be bequeathed to the University of New Mexico.

Lately, he’s had donations from older UFOlogists, who don’t want to have their widows dispose of what they’ve accumulated, or truck it to the landfill.

Marler’s a grateful recipient, but his home and garage are getting overcrowded.

“It’s sad; I wish I could say there are a lot of young people coming on board, but they want to do podcasts — they want to talk about what’s new,” he said. “Podcasts are a dime a dozen. I just posted on my website, I’m not accepting any more podcast requests, because I was getting them on a weekly basis, just devoting too much time. I had to say, ‘stop.’

If I’m constantly talking about the research I’m doing, I’m not doing any research – I’m a researcher, first. … My focus is doing historical research and preservation.”

You can see more about Marler, and contact him via his website, davidmarler ufo.com.