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August 13, 2007

The affidavit, the interview, and the affidavit ...

I'm going to take our friend and columnist Dennis Balthaser exactly at his word when he told our other friends Gene Steinberg and David Biedney of The Paracast what he wanted to know about Walter Haut's 2002 formally sealed, but now unsealed, affidavit that appeared in Don Schmitt's and Tom Carey's Witness to Roswell and in UFO Magazine's July issue (22.7) as well as on the internet. Dennis wanted to know the circumstances of that affidavit, how it was written, who helped Haut with it -- if anyone -- and why it was simply a written document and nothing more, with no video, no audio.

On its face, these are good questions, especially since both Don and Tom wrote in their book that they were publishing the affidavit without any editorial apparatus surrounding it. It was just there, at the end of the book, speaking for itself.

In response to the unfolding events in the wake of the publication of Walter Haut's 2002 affidavit, folks out there have raised lots of questions. Just on the face of it, the affidavit actually raises a bunch of questions even as it purports to answer a bunch of others. For example, why does Walter's 2002 affidavit differ so dramatically from his 1993 affidavit? Any competent attorney examining Walter Haut on the witness stand would not be remiss in asking: Were you telling the truth then or are you telling the truth now?

Which story is true? The one you told in 1993, when you did not reveal your role in the ongoing coverup of the Roswell Incident or the one in 2002, where you described not only your role, but Col. Blanchard's role, Col, DuBose's role, and Major Jesse Marcel's role? Can you give us any facts in support of your 2002 affidavit?

To add to the mystery surrounding the two entirely different statements in Walter Haut's 1993 sworn statement v. his 2002 sworn statement is Walter's video interview with Dennis Balthaser and Wendy Connors. This is also a strange interview not just because Walter actually makes two materially different statements about the same thing in this interview; the circumstances of the interview itself are mysterious, as Tom Carrey explained to me in an interview this evening.

First, anyone watching the Balthaser/Connors 2000 video of Haut will see that Walter Haut, possibly very uncomfortable before the camera, says at one point that he actually saw the alien bodies retrieved from the crash at Roswell. Then at another point in the interview he says that he really didn't see anything at all. Again, an attorney would ask: "Mr. Haut, didn't you just say you saw alien bodies at Roswell? And are you now saying that you really didn't see anything at all? Which statement is true?"

The 2000 Connors/Balthaser interview presents both contradictory statements -- I saw the bodies. No, I didn't see anything -- in a single video interview. Tom Carey has described Walter's statements in that interview as completely contradictory. You can't see and not see the bodies at the same time.

Or can you?

And what about Dennis Balthaser's issues with the 2002 affidavit?

First, we should add another element to this mix: Julie Shuster, Walter Haut's daughter, who said on Larry King that her father said in his affidavit that he actually saw the spacecraft at Walker Field. She attests to the truth of that statement. She also said on Larry King that her father didn't see any bodies. However, Tom Carey suggests, it may well have been that Julie, a guest on a remote feed speaking only into a camera, may not have completely heard Larry King's question and may have interpreted it to mean that because her father did not see the bodies close up, as he says in his affidavit, he really didn't see anything at all about their features because he was so far away.

This is what Walter also says in his affidavit. Similarly, someone asking about the details would discover that although Walter Haut says he saw the alien bodies at the far end of the hangar and saw the oversized head, that was all he saw. He saw no details, could give no real description, could not tell you whether they had ears, a large or small mouth, or a nose, or anything.

In fact, when it came to describing any facial features of the aliens, Walter Haut really didn't see anything at all. He only saw the bodies from a distance. It was after the Roswell debris and bodies where shipped to Fort Worth, Tom Carey explains, that Col. Blanchard called Haut into his office, held his hand about four feet off the floor, and told him the aliens were about that high.

Perhaps, I throw out as a suggestion, Walter Haut saw and did not see at the very same time. He did see the alien bodies at a distance, he tells Dennis Balthaser and Wendy Connors on tape. But he really didn't see anything at all because he was so far away. Does this make sense? It might, even though one might say it's completely disingenuous.

In the context of the Balthaser/Connor interview it might make even more sense. Tom Carey explained that when he reviewed the video tape he was a Walter Haut acting quite differently than he acted in interviews Carey and Schmitt had with him even up to 2004, the year before he died.

In fact, Tom said, in 2005, the year of his death, Walter Haut, although partially incapacitated by arthritis and diabetes, seemed mentally as sharp as he ever was. He made it to the museum a couple of times a week and was still able to recall details from memory. He doubts, therefore, that Walter Haut's performance in the 2000 Balthaser/Connors interview was the result of any mental incapacity.

Rather, he suggests, if Walter felt uncomfortable being on video, if he didn't like the camera, if he felt that he was too near the edge of disclosing something that he had promised Butch Blanchard he would never disclose, then his answers -- clipped and short as they were -- would have made sense.

Why would Walter Haut have been uncomfortable in front of the camera? I don't know and have yet to talk to Dennis about that interview. However, if Walter felt, as Tom Carey suggests, that he was answering questions that were not on the agenda or beyond the scope of the interview he agreed to, that might have explained his behavior.

Nevertheless, it is on record that Walter Haut told Dennis Balthaser and Wendy Connors that he was in the hangar where he saw the alien bodies from a distance even though he later said that he did not see anything. So in that one respect, Walter's seeing the alien bodies, the 2000 Balthaser/Connor interview and the Haut 2002 affidavit absolutely agree.

As to Dennis' questions about the nature of the 2002 affidavit, Carey explained that although he and Schmitt were not present when the affidavit was drafted, and therefore could not provide any eyewitness information about it, the affidavit was not handwritten by Walter Haut. It was not like a holographic will, a will written in the testator's own hand just like the last will and testament drafted by Sheriff Will Kane (Gary Cooper) in the 1952 movie High Noon.

In Walter's case, Tom explains, his memory was refreshed by seeing the statements of other people talking about him, at which point Walter either affirmed the statements or disaffirmed them. He affirms them by including them in his own affidavit and then by signing it, ratifies them, or dismisses them by having them excluded from his statement. In a particular instance, Walter Haut affirmed and then ratified the statement about his keeping pieces of the Roswell wreckage in his office until they were loaded on the plane to Fort Worth, a recollection refreshed to him by the statements of Lloyd Nelson, who worked for Haut at Walker Field.

In this way, nobody actually wrote Walter Haut's affidavit for him, Carey says. Rather, his statements were typed, shown to him for his review and agreement, and then affirmed by him in the presence of a witness, who is named in the true copy of the affidavit and in the presence of a notary public who accepts the sworn statement of the affiant and records it with, in this case, her signature and seal.

The fact that a notary was present and sealed the document should end any doubt as to the reality of its existence. And the fact that it comports with at least the first half of the Balthaser/Connors interview should go a long way to satisfy the doubts that Dennis, Gene, and David expressed on the Paracast. But as to what this all means and how it explains the actions of both Walter Haut and Jesse Marcel subsequent to the Roswell incident, let's leave that to the September issue of UFO Magazine.

Bill Birnes

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