The following memorandum was first released by the FBI in the 1970s, but did not gain notoriety until much later.
It was written by a Special Agent of the FBI by the name of Guy Hottel, who addressed the memo to the Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. Within, Hottel describes information from an Air Force investigator, in which three “flying saucers” had been recovered in New Mexico. In addition, each saucer was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only three feet tall, dressed in a metallic cloth.
According to the informant (see update below for identity), the saucers were found in New Mexico due to the fact that the Government had “a very high-powered radar setup in the area.”
The FBI never followed up, according to them, and in their own words they call the memorandum a “mystery.”
See below for the document and for additional information posted by the FBI.
UPDATE August 2022
In August of 2022, The Black Vault finally received the full “Hottel Memo” without redactions. FOIA Case 1555167-000 was filed on August 2, 2022, and although the FBI denied my request for “expedited processing”, their release of the record came within a week.
On August 8, 2022, the “Hottel Memo” was released in full. Although the standard boilerplate language in the FOIA letter states the information was “pre-processed” – there is no indication online, or in published articles, the complete memorandum was ever published, unredacted.
That said, the newly released version can be seen here:
This reveals that Robert H. Kurtzman, FBI Special Agent in Washington D.C. received the information from another law enforcement agency (surprisingly, not Silas Newton or a “Silas Newton” type informant with unverifiable information. The information came from the Metropolitan Police Department (presumably Washington D.C.) and “Sex Squad” Special Investigator Karl Howe.
Where the Metropolitan Police Department received the information, remains a mystery. However, as it could be Silas Newton (or again, a “Silas Newton” type person expressing a hoaxed story) it was an interesting find to see another law enforcement agency informed the FBI — not some unreliable source. Now the question is, at what level did the Metropolitan Police Department investigate the claims, in order for them to feel the need to waste the FBI’s time with it.
Although still a mystery, at least now, we have the full document with the names attached.
The original, older release, of the “Hottel Memo”
The following was published by the FBI in March of 2013 to explain the memorandum. Although they give some additional facts, they call it a “mystery” with no viable explanation.
It’s the most popular file in the FBI Vault—our high-tech electronic reading room housing various Bureau records released under the Freedom of Information Act. Over the past two years, this file has been viewed nearly a million times. Yet, it is only a single page, relaying an unconfirmed report that the FBI never even followed up on.
The file in question is a memo dated March 22, 1950—63 years ago last week. It was authored by Guy Hottel, then head of our field office in Washington, D.C. Like all memos to FBI Headquarters at that time, it was addressed to Director J. Edgar Hoover and recorded and indexed in FBI records.
The subject of the memo was anything but ordinary. It related a story told to one of our agents by a third party who said an Air Force investigator had reported that three “flying saucers” were recovered in New Mexico. The memo provided the following detail:
“They [the saucers]were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only three feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed fliers and test pilots.”
After relaying an informant’s claim that the saucers had been found because the government’s “high-powered radar” in the area had interfered with “the controlling mechanism of the saucers,” the memo ends simply by saying that “[n]o further evaluation was attempted” concerning the matter by the FBI agent.
That might have been the end of this particular story, just another informational dead end in the FBI files. But when we launched the Vault in April 2011, some media outlets noticed the Hottel memo and erroneously reported that the FBI had posted proof of a UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico and the recovery of wreckage and alien corpses. The resulting stories went viral, and traffic to the new Vault soared.
So what’s the real story? A few facts to keep in mind:
First, the Hottel memo isn’t new. It was first released publicly in the late 1970s and had been posted on the FBI website for several years prior to the launch of the Vault.
Second, the Hottel memo is dated nearly three years after the infamous events in Roswell in July 1947. There is no reason to believe the two are connected. The FBI file on Roswell (another popular page) is posted elsewhere.
Third, as noted in an earlier story, the FBI has only occasionally been involved in investigating reports of UFOs and extraterrestrials. For a few years after the Roswell incident, Director Hoover did order his agents—at the request of the Air Force—to verify any UFO sightings. That practice ended in July 1950, four months after the Hottel memo, suggesting that our Washington Field Office didn’t think enough of that flying saucer story to look into it.
Finally, the Hottel memo does not prove the existence of UFOs; it is simply a second- or third-hand claim that we never investigated. Some people believe the memo repeats a hoax that was circulating at that time, but the Bureau’s files have no information to verify that theory.
Sorry, no smoking gun on UFOs. The mystery remains…
FBI Biography of Guy Hottel
Guy L. Hottel was born around 1902. He was a graduate of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he was a star football player. He was later inducted into the university’s athletic hall of fame. He entered the FBI as a special agent in 1934. In December 1936, he was named acting head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; he was appointed special agent in charge the following May and served until March 1941. Hottel was re-appointed special agent in charge in February 1943 and served until 1951, when he took a position in the Identification Division. He retired in 1955. Hottel was married three times and had two sons. Following his FBI career, Hottel served as executive secretary of the Horseman’s Benevolent Association. He died in June 1990.
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