(It was 64 years ago today when an Unidentified Flying Object crashed 30 miles south of Laredo, Texas.  One of the most looked-at UFO cases in history, this case is what helped jumpstart UFO awareness in not just the United States, but throughout the world.  This post uses material from Phantoms and Monsters; no ownership is claimed over this material, it is being posted purely for educational purposes)

The Laredo, Texas UFO Crash is a case in which at least two U.S. military aircraft allegedly chased a 90-foot diameter silver disc-shaped UFO across Texas before watching the object crash approximately 30 miles south-southwest of Laredo, Texas on July 7, 1948. U.S. servicemen were reportedly dispatched from a nearby military base to cordon off the UFO crash site until a special U.S. retrieval team arrived to examine the wreckage and carry it away to a military base in San Antonio, Texas. Supposedly, the badly burned body of a non-human entity was recovered from the crash site.

Much has been written about the strange body found in the Laredo UFO crash remains. He has been derisively called “Tomato Man” by the usual detractors in such cases. The fact is, this body was reportedly photographed in the remains of the UFO that came down in the crash.

U.S. Secretary of State, General George C. Marshall, reportedly intervened directly with the Mexican Government and obtained permission for U.S. Army personnel to recover the remains of a U.S.”Special Test Vehicle” that had gone out of control and crashed in Mexico. Col. John W. Bowen, USAF (Retired), then Provost Marshall at Cars-well AFB, was sent over to take immediate charge of cordoning off and controlling the area. The bulk of the residue was picked up on big Army Transporter Trucks and hauled to San Antonio Air Depot for study.

But before removal, a special photographer with a very high security clearance was flown down from White Sands Missile Test Genter in New Mexico in a light weight, special slow-flight photo-liaison airplane. As soon as a complete set of 8″x1O” prints were made, Commander Smith took than and left for Washington and the photo people never saw him again. The source of the two photos furnished claimed he had 40 negatives in all showing this crash scene.

Information was extracted from a series of letters from the original photographer to MARCEN, a fledgling UFO Journal. The following is from that report:

“What that team observed and photographed was an unearthly-shaped craft made up of earthly-looking debris. The basic structure looked as if it could have been built by earthly hands. Things were badly burned by the time the photographers got to the site, but they noticed a complete absence of any type of wiring, rubber, glass, plastics, wood, or paper products.

“Our source noticed what was some supportive structures, which were held together by what appeared to be conventional bolts but when “the mechanics attempted to unscrew them with wrenches, they would not turn at all. They had to be eventually chiseled off and the metal was very hard, The Army was using carbide and diamond drills and diamond saws for the final disassembly. There appeared to be two kinds of metal involved. The first and most abundant could not be cut by the oxy-acety-lene cutting torches brought in. The second immediately began burning when the cutting torches were used on it.

“The structural skin of the craft was apparently blown away in the explosion when the device crashed as the whole valley was littered with fragments of what appeared to be foil, very much like our cigarette packages, only much harder. You could not bend the material-Before anyone could leave the site, the MPs searched them and confiscated all fragments that had been collected.

“As best the source could ascertain, the craft was nearly perfectly circular and was about 90 feet in diameter and about 28 feet in thickness at the center and tapering off to about 5 feet thick at the perimeter.

“There appeared to be 5 or six levels in the center of the craft and they were told some sort of instrumentation and machinery were removed before they had arrived. No propulsion system or mechanism was apparent to the source.

“There was only one body, and it was badly burned at that, still in the structure. Our source photographed it in place in the structure as best he could with the intense heat from the still smouldering remains • and the burning hot sand. After they had taken photos of the entire scene and attempted to use multiple flash guns and a tripod to record the overall scene from a nearby hillside, The Air Force crash and rescue firemen on the scene dragged the body from the craft and put it on a nearby bank so they could photograph it away from the intense heat.

“During their briefing, before photographic work began, one of the team members asked what this was and where it came from. The commander told him not to ask. An Army Captain who assisted them said the little fellow we were photographing did not come from this Earth.

“They only saw and photographed one body but rumors were floating around the site that two or more creatures had been blown out of the vehicle and were captured and taken away injured severely but still alive. Our source said he had no confirmation of this aspect of the case.

“The body they photographed was 4′ 6” long. Its head was extremely large for the body size by human proportions. The eyes were gone from the fire but the eyesockets were much larger than in humans and were almost wraparound as if to give 180 degree vision. There were no visible ears or nose but there were openings where ears and nostrils would have been in humans. There were no lips and the mouth was just a sort of slit with no teeth or tongue. There were two legs of normal proportions with short feet having no discernible toes. The two arms were longer than in humans and the hands had four claw-like fingers each with no apparent thumbs. The arms and legs appeared to have joints in approximately the same places as in humans.

“There were two Army doctors that arrived on the morning of July 8th and they made a superficial examination of the body. Cur source listened to them while taking photos of their work. There was no teeth or tongue in the mouth and no apparent duct connecting the mouth to any part of digestive system. There was no reproductive organs visible by human standards. The most remarkable thing he overheard was that no stratified (sic) muscle fibre was discovered in any of the extremities. The tissue, which was gray in color was extremely smooth and the doctors compared its consistency to the tissue of a human female breast. They said that the bone structure in the extremities too was more complicated than in humans and speculated that motion may have been accomplished through the supporting bones instead of muscles. The entire abdomen was encased by a rib-like structure all the way to the hips. The doctors were amazed that the right arm extremity had a metallic joint at the elbow, No external examinations were made at the site.

“The hands each had four digits, longer than human fingers,and they tapered to an almost claw-like appearance at the tip. There were no opposing digits like thumbs. There was no visible evidence of toes and the feet came to a blunt point. The body appeared to have been clothed in a metallic-like material, most of which had been burned away.

“The doctors said there was no evidence of hair growing on the head or other areas of the body as they found no immediate evidence of hair roots. The only fluid found in the apparent veins in the extremities was colorless with a slight green cast and a strong sulfurous odor.

“Our source noticed a strong sulfurous odor and an ozone smell when working around the burning structure.”

In November 1979, MARCEN was able to obtain the negative from which a print was made. This original negative was then analyzed by Kodak and other photo laboratories. Eastman Kodak concluded that their analysis indicated a negative that had been processed at least thirty years previously. Their tests also showed no evidence of deliberate hoaxing, at least photographically, in making the negative.

In May 1980 the contact sent a second negative shewing the body it lay in vegetation on a slope. That one was also examined and and found to be equivalent to the first. Now there were two photos.

On August 22, 1980 the photos were released to the Associated Press in two areas and to newspapers and broadcast stations.

After the release, most of the reaction was that this was a hoax though other photo analysis concurred Kodak’s previous conclusions. As well, MARCEN was looked upon as the party responsible for initiating the ruse.

The crash site is about 30 miles SSW of Laredo not far from the highway to Mexico City, and near where the Rio Sabinas joins the Rio Salado before they empty into the Rio Grande, in The Sierra Madre Oriental.

Texas Monthly magazine recently included the Laredo UFO Crash on a list of the eight most significant UFO cases in Texas history. Interestingly, this case is said to have occurred almost exactly one year after the more famous Roswell UFO Incident. Rumors about this case first began circulating in the 1950s, although details were not widely known until 1977. This case shares similarities with the Del Rio, Texas UFO Crash of 1955 and the Coyame UFO Incident of 1974, both of which reportedly also occurred along the Texas-Mexico border.

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