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Image: Examining an alien dummy
Dennis Balthaser, left, and Glenn Dennis, center, examine a display
at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, N.M.
An unsettling and unsettled tale  
The question: How do you preserve small bodies?  
By Alan Boyle
    ROSWELL, N.M. —  In 1947, Glenn Dennis’ funeral home held a contract for mortuary services at the Roswell Army Air Field — a distinction not likely to thrust him into the public eye. But today Dennis is a central figure in the Roswell story.  

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‘If people don’t believe me, that’s their problem.’
        DENNIS SAYS the Roswell UFO Incident could be “the biggest hoax of the millennium or . . . the biggest story of the millennium.”
       When UFO researcher Stanton Friedman delved into the Roswell story in 1989, Dennis told a remarkable tale. The mortician recalled receiving a series of phone inquiries from the air base during an afternoon in July 1947: What’s the best way to handle small bodies? How do you best preserve bodies that had been exposed to the elements?
        Dennis says he was unsettled by the curious nature of the phone calls.
       What’s more, Dennis told UFO investigators of an encounter that evening with an acquaintance of his at the base, a nurse who appeared to be in a state of panic.
       At a meeting the next day, the nurse described three alien bodies that were being examined at the base by medical experts, and she even drew sketches of the aliens on a prescription pad, Dennis says.
        Recounting his meeting with the mysterious nurse, Dennis says, “I don’t think I’d be here today if it wasn’t for the way I knew her.”
       Shortly after that encounter, the nurse left Roswell, he says. The mortician says they agreed that the nurse would contact him later to compare notes — but he never heard from her again.
       There had been rumors that the woman was killed in a plane crash. Those rumors, however, have been discredited, and Dennis now says he hopes the nurse was able to get over her mental trauma and resume a normal life.
       In the years since Dennis first mentioned the encounter, some investigators have pointed out apparent inconsistencies in the tale and have even questioned whether Dennis made up the story about the nurse.
       Dennis says he never tried to contact the nurse because of their pact that she would be the one to initiate contact. He has never publicly shared the sketches he says he was given. And although he reportedly told UFO researcher Karl Pflock that the woman was named Naomi Maria Selff — a name that doesn’t match up with military personnel records — Dennis now declines to speak her name. Even if she were named Naomi Selff, he says, “I wouldn’t tell you anyway.”
       Others have questioned why Dennis waited so long to tell his amazing story. In response, the mortician says authorities warned him to keep quiet.
        Dennis says there are other reasons for his reticence. “I don’t like publicity in the first place,” he says.
       As he discusses the case, Dennis points out that the Roswell saga doesn’t depend on his story alone, but also on the corroborating accounts provided by other residents of the region.
        “I know these people from 50 years or better,” he says. “And they don’t lie.”
       The mortician, who helped found the International UFO Museum and Research Center, says he still tries to keep a low profile in the UFO debate. There are those who will never believe his story, and Dennis says he frankly doesn’t care what others think.
        “If people don’t believe me, that’s their problem,” he says.
       Next: The man behind the negated news
MSNBC News Hometown voices from Roswell
Special Report "The Great Beyond: UFOs and the Millennium"

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