LTC Jesse Antoine Marcel, Sr

LTC Jesse Antoine Marcel, Sr

Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, USA
Death 24 Jun 1986 (aged 79)
Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, USA
Burial Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, USA
Memorial ID 19717326 · View Source
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Jesse Antoine Sr. MARCEL
Sex: M
Birth: 27 JUN 1907 in Bayou Blue, Houma, La.
Death: 24 JUN 1986 in Houma, Terrebonne Parish, LA
Burial: Bayou Blue, Terrebonne Parish, LA; Matherne Cemetery

Houma Newspaper Deaths 1986, p. 114

Jesse Antoine Marcel Sr. , 79, died Tuesday (publication date June 24, 1986)
Services at Chauvin Funeral Home Chapel and burial in Matherne Cem.
Survived by his wife, Viaud Abrams Marcel; son, Jesse A. Marcel Jr. of Helena, Mont.; sister Mrs. Eddie (Laurentine) Bergeron of Bayou Blue.
Preceded in death by his parents, Theodule Marcel and Adelaide Bergeron Marcel; three brothers, Paul, Willey and Dennis Marcel; sisters, Mrs. Freddie (Armentine) Guidry, Miss Lucy Marcel, Mrs Alfred (Louise) Dupre, and Mrs. Peter (Jennie) Savoie.
Social Security Death Index, Jesse Marcel
b. June 27, 1907; d. June 1986; SS#494-05-.... issued in Missouri; Residence code Louisiana; zip code of last address, 70360; primary location of zip, Houma, La.

Father: Theodule Joseph MARCEL b: 17 MAY 1859 in Houma, Terrebonne Parish, LA
Mother: Adelaide Marie BERGERON b: 17 SEP 1859 in Houma, Terrebonne Parish, LA

Marriage 1 Viaud ABRAMS b: 22 DEC 1913 in Louisiana,


By Robert Scott Martin

According to a previously unknown 1981 interview, Jesse Marcel, the Roswell Air Force Base intelligence officer who transformed UFO history when he recovered pieces of an unidentified object in the desert, maintained to the end of his life that the object was no weather balloon.Linda Corley, who interviewed Marcel five years before his death, closed the 1999 National UFO Conference with a largely impressionistic portrait of the man's last years in Houma, LA, where she still lives.Corley contacted Marcel after a college professor told
her class to interview "an interesting person." The resulting four-hour conversation between Marcel, his wife, Viaud, and Corley took place around the Marcels' kitchen table on May 5,
1981, and was recorded on an inexpensive student cassette player.
One of the most significant details to emerge from the discussion was the fact that Marcel firmly denied having seen alien corpses in the wreckage."Had there been bodies of aliens in the debris, I would have picked them up and brought them in," Corley quoted him as saying.

Not a balloon
Even in the absence of aliens,Marcel remained convinced that the wreckage was not,as the Air Force has since maintained,part of a downed top-secret balloon."The material was unusual,"Corley said he told her."It couldn't have been a balloon.It was porous,it couldn't hold air."To the best of Marcel's knowledge,the military kept all of the strange metallic fabric that predominated the debris,along with the structural elements that looked like wood but didn't burn.He had little patience
for either the original explanation that the "flying disk" recovered from Roswell was part of a weather balloon,or the official story of a highly classified Mogul spy balloon that emerged later.The infamous photograph of Brigadier General Roger Ramey displaying the wreckage was unquestionably a fake,he said,staged later "strictly for the press.""Publicity is not what I want"

Significantly,Marcel does not come across in the Corley interview as a man making up an outlandish story to get attention and possibly money as well,as skeptics have claimed."Publicity is not what I want," she quotes him as saying."I feel like I'm a nobody and I'm going to stay a nobody … talk about these things and they get a net after you."Nor was he a "true believer" interested in spreading his story to win public support for the UFO cause."I became disinterested" with UFOs,he said."There's something wrong with me -- I'm still curious,but I'm not reading."Patriotism, silence and their rewards Marcel described himself as a young man to Corley as being extremely ambitious,"like ten cats on a hot tin roof,"a
characterization borne out by more than 8 years of active military duty.Still,he left the army at a relatively young age in 1950,whereupon he learned he had received a "stealth promotion" to the rank of lieutenant colonel in December,1948.
The file explaining the promotion had been misplaced,he told Corley.Corley now says Marcel felt unable to tell her everything he knew about certain subjects,quoting him as saying,"I left the service,but remain loyal to the country and a vow I took to keep my mouth shut."

That very vow may explain why he called her a few weeks after the interview in a "frantic" mood to tell her that everything he had said had been a lie.He insisted that she not release the information to the press,and so she kept the interview out of the public eye for more than a decade,not even turning it in as part of her school assignment."My heart really went out to him because he sounded so scared,"she said.Even Memorex fades-Instead,she kept the tapes on the shelf,unplayed but preserved as a testament to the possibly "unique information" they held.By the time Stanton Friedman heard of the interview and asked Corley to release the tapes,they had already decayed and were of dubious use to him."It seemed I had waited too long,"she said.Instead,the faded recordings forced her to transcribe the interview herself,she said,using her likewise transitory memories to fill in the gaps.She also made use of a new cassette player that "cleaned" the tapes during playback.Although Friedman returned two of the three tapes to her in 1995 and the third in 1996,Corley held back on releasing the material until Mrs. Marcel's recent death,she said.Working with the tapes evidently stirred a profound wave of nostalgia in Corley,as she waxed rhapsodic about the feeling of listening to the innocent and enthusiastic voice of her girlhood after all the years.She framed the afternoon with the Marcels as an almost holy moment,an event somehow set outside time by her own proximity to the golden age of flying saucers and the catastrophic interruption of Roswell.
Corley named the trees in the Marcels' backyard,showed slides of the suburban house and the elderly couple slouched over their kitchen table.The event has so ingrained itself in her emotional makeup that she has spent apparently vast amounts of time and energy doodling the "pink and purple" marks --often called an example of some alien alphabet in the literature --in various
patterns and color schemes.

Earnestness or artifice?If Corley can exude such apparent yearning and personal attachment to a hoax,then her hoax is one of extraordinary complexity,and such is unlikely to be the case.Despite initial doubts to the contrary,I am now convinced that Corley's material does in fact derive from a conversation with Marcel,and I apologize for the unconsciously negative tone of my earlier comments on the topic.Her somewhat formal public speaking style and outsider's willingness to retrace details that are common knowledge in the Roswell field may well be the marks of an authentic novice thrust by circumstance into the eye of UFOlogy.Her prepared speech --of a dozen NUFOC speakers,she is the only one I remember reading from
pre-written sheets --wandered down blind alleys of recollection with all the apparent earnestness of the college psychology paper that it was once meant to be. Like Marcel's memories of a bright summer day decades gone, the conversation of 1981 may have lacked systematic rigor, but that itself may be the hallmark of a different flavor of truth.Marcel unfurls a sheet of unidentified debris in 1947 (credit: Fort Worth Star-Telegram).

Firmage Still Searching for UFO Answers Web Sightings: September 7 UFO Researcher Says Arnold Saw Pelicans, Not UFOs One of the most significant details to emerge from the discussion was the fact that Marcel firmly denied having seen alien corpses in the wreckage.


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  • Created by: Bobby and Carol Babin Estes
  • Added: 4 Jun 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19717326
  • Laura Virgil
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for LTC Jesse Antoine Marcel, Sr (27 May 1907–24 Jun 1986), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19717326, citing Matherne Cemetery, Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, USA ; Maintained by Bobby and Carol Babin Estes (contributor 46900498) .