No other UFO related event has received more widespread attention than the famous Roswell UFO crash of 1947. This mysterious incident has been the subject of more articles, books, research, and conspiracy theories than any other UFO-related event in history. Although the finer details surrounding the incident have been hotly debated for decades, there are several aspects of the account that have been widely documented and are generally accepted as factual.
Some think it started on June 25th, 1947 when a pilot by the name of Kenneth Arnold observed a group of nine unidentified aircraft flying over a section of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State at an altitude of roughly 10,000 feet. He reported that the aircraft were shiny, metallic and arrow-shaped, and performed erratic movements that essentially defied all known laws of physics. Arnold described the maneuvers of the flying objects as moving “like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water”. As a result of this vivid description, the press made-up a new term for the unexplained phenomena–“flying saucers”–which quickly caught on with the press, and subsequently birthed the age of the UFO.
Not even two weeks later after the Arnold event, an even more striking event took place in Roswell, New Mexico. Upon hearing the news of the sightings, a local farmer and ranch foreman named William “Mac” Brazel was prompted to visit George Wilcox, Sheriff of Chaves County, to inform him of a discovery that he had made on his ranch roughly 30 miles outside of Roswell. Brazel was making his usual rounds on the ranch in early July when he described coming upon what appeared to be the wreckage of some type of small aircraft. According to Brazel’s interview, he described the debris as being a “large area of bright wreckage”, with clusters of materials that were metallic and lightweight, but yet phenomenally strong in composition.
Brazel had actually discovered the debris a few days before hearing about the reports of Arnold ‘s “flying saucers”, but he didn’t think too much of it at the time except that it needed to be cleaned up to prevent his farm animals from possibly trying to eat the foreign materials. Upon hearing of Arnold ‘s UFO incident Brazel revisited the site with his wife, son and daughter in order to gather up the debris, and then on July 7th, 1947, Brazel reported his findings to Sheriff Wilcox, stating that he may have found one of the “flying discs”. This somewhat benign action by Brazel sparked a whirlwind of publicity and inquiries that eventually exasperated Brazel to the point where he later said that if he ever found anything again “short of a bomb”, he would be sure not to tell anyone about it.
Sheriff Wilcox quickly contacted the nearby Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) regarding the wreckage on Brazel’s land. The military base responded by promptly sending out Major Jesse A. Marcel and a man dressed “in plain clothes” to gather up the remainder of the debris. Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of the story is the stark contrast between the two initial press releases issued at the behest of the base commander, Colonel William Blanchard, in the days immediately following the discovery. In the first press release, emblazoned across the front page of the July 8th, 1947 edition of the Roswell Daily Record, the headline reads “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region”. The first press release goes on to talk about how the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence office had cooperated with the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office and a “local rancher” to “gain possession of a disc”.
The first press release also made mention of a recent incident reported by a local couple, Mr. and Mrs. Dan Wilmot, who claimed to have seen what appeared to be a flying disc only a few days prior to Brazel’s discovery. The Wilmots claimed to have seen a bright, glowing object streak across the night sky over their house while they were sitting on their porch. According to their report, the object was traveling at a high rate of speed and moving in a “northwesterly direction.” They claimed that the object had an oval shape and resembled two inverted saucers facing “mouth to mouth” to each other. Wilmot decided to go public with what he and his wife had witnessed only moments before the official announcement from the RAAF regarding the flying disc was released.
Once the first press release was published, the disc wreckage was flown that same day to the Fort Worth Army Air Force base for further examination and analysis. According Roger Ramey, Commanding General of the 8th Air Force in Fort Worth, the wreckage was not that of a “flying saucer”, but rather of a high-altitude weather balloon. Ramey stated that the weather balloon was constructed of balsa wood and aluminum, and carried an on-board radar. The Roswell Army Air Field issued a second official press release (published by the Roswell Daily Record on July 9th, 1947) to correct the previous misidentification and hopefully quell the “buzz” surrounding the incident, but by then it was too late–the RAAF, the Sheriff’s office, and the Roswell Daily Record were all being flooded with phone calls from reporters all over the country seeking more details about the Roswell incident. The stark contrast between both of these press releases, which were issued only one day apart from each other, prompted many people to speculate that the military had begun to engage in a cover-up regarding the incident.
Once the correction was released, much of the controversy surrounding the incident did indeed die down, and by the end of the week the story of the incident had all but completely disappeared from the newspapers. The Roswell incident further drifted into obscurity by the end of the year, essentially destined to become yet another anecdote in the annals of paranormal history–until widespread interest in the story was revived in 1978 by a gentleman named Stanton T. Friedman. Friedman had a background as a physicist and was a part-time lecturer on the subject of UFO-related phenomena. On February 21st, 1978, Friedman had delivered a ufology-related lecture in Baton Rouge, LA and subsequently interviewed a man who claimed to have personally worked with the wreckage of a crashed alien spacecraft. The man’s name was Jesse Marcel.
Friedman was initially unexcited about Marcel’s claims due to experiencing several research endeavors that turned out to be hoaxes, but after Friedman’s research partner (William Moore) found the newspaper clippings of the incident referred to by Marcel, his interest was ignited. Marcel subsequently expressed his beliefs regarding the Roswell incident, claiming that the military had engaged in a cover-up to obfuscate the fact that they had indeed recovered a wrecked alien spacecraft. Marcel later began to appear in various UFO-related documentaries, and his story began to spread in the paranormal community. The National Enquirer conducted an interview with Marcel in 1980, garnering worldwide publicity for the Roswell incident. As Marcel began to open up regarding his personal experiences at Roswell, other key witnesses began coming forward and relating their personal accounts of working on top-secret military operations dedicated to the recovery and study of alien spacecraft at as many as eleven different crash sites.
Perhaps one of the most startling revelations to come forth from the Roswell incident is the account of former mortician Glenn Dennis, who conducted mortuary services for the Roswell Army Air Field during the late 1940s. In 1989, upon seeing an episode of the popular television show “Unsolved Mysteries” in which the Roswell UFO incident was featured, Davis called the show’s hotline and confirmed that he had personally witnessed and performed autopsies on alien corpses at the Roswell base. The bodies of these aliens were consistently described by various witnesses as being small (i.e., roughly four to five feet tall) but humanoid in appearance, having large eyes, big heads, and small, slit-like mouths. Their bodies were generally very slender, with long arms and hands that had only four fingers each. One of the Army nurses who worked at the Roswell facility described the bodies of the aliens as very frail-looking and fragile. Several eyewitnesses claimed that the bodies of the aliens from the Roswell crash site were put into large wooden crates and flown to a top-secret military installation at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Although there are several variations in the details of these eyewitness testimonies, the generally agreed-upon assertion is that alien spacecraft, as well as alien corpses, have indeed been recovered and retained by a number of classified military installations over the past six decades.
An interesting correlation that has surfaced in recent decades regarding the Roswell incident is how rapidly technology has progressed since the late 1940s. Many ufologists speculate that the military has secretly reverse-engineered many of the sophisticated technological systems that were discovered on the crashed Roswell spacecraft. The former CEO of Lockheed-Martin’s Advanced Development Program (a.k.a. “Skunk Works”) recently admitted in an interview with the Denver UFO Examiner that the Roswell craft has influenced the design of many of their top-secret aircraft models. Also important to note is the emergence of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)–a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and the precursor to our modern-day Internet–in the early 1960s, not even twenty years after the Roswell UFO crash. One of the main computer scientists behind the ARPA initiative, J.C.R. Licklider, issued a memo in 1963 discussing the formation of what he termed an “Intergalactic Computer Network”–an interesting choice of words indeed.
The Air Force has been consistently adamant in their stance regarding the Roswell UFO incident over the years; they claim that there was nothing to at all to the crash, and that it was just a defective weather balloon that met its untimely fate. Although the conspiracy theories and speculations regarding Roswell are replete with conflicting eyewitness accounts, it is entirely reasonable to conclude that something more than just a weather balloon landed on Brazel’s ranch back in July of 1947. We may never know the full truth, but the mystery and intrigue of the Roswell UFO crash will continue to endure.