The Roswell incident, which took place in 1947, apparently involved the recovery of a high-altitude balloon belonging to the U.S. Army Air Forces. In the years after the incident, it became the focus and a staple for UFO and alien conspiracy theories.
Before readdressing the Roswell incident and stating that the wreckage belonged to a weather balloon, the U.S. military first claimed that the recovered debris was from a “flying disc,” which added to the intrigue. The balloon’s involvement in the top-secret Project Mogul, which sought to discover Soviet nuclear bomb tests, was finally made public in 1994. But the conspiracy theories didn’t come to an end with that information.
It was in the late 1970s that the Roswell incident became publicly known after retired lieutenant colonel Jesse Marcel told ufologist Stanton Friedman that he thought the debris he found was extraterrestrial. One or more alien spacecraft had crash-landed, and the extraterrestrial passengers had been collected by the military, who then engaged in a cover-up, according to various increasingly complex conspiracy theories promoted by ufologists.
The Roswell incident is still a topic of curiosity in the public press, and conspiracy theories are still prevalent. The encounter has been referred to as “the most famous, well-studied, and thoroughly refuted UFO report in history.”
The city of Roswell, New Mexico, has profited from the incident; the little green man now appears on the city’s seal, and there are several ufology-related events, attractions, statues, and iconography throughout the area.
What is the Roswell Incident?
The 1947 flying saucer mania included the Roswell incident. On June 26, the tale of civilian pilot Kenneth Arnold spotting what came to be known as “Flying Saucers” was covered by media outlets across the country.
Over 800 “copycat” sightings that were claimed after the Arnold account was published were eventually documented by historians.
Rancher W.W. “Mac” Brazel traveled from his outlying ranch to Corona, New Mexico, on Saturday night, July 5, 1947. Brazel was oblivious to the flying saucer craze that had been going on for the previous ten days because the ranch had no phone or radio.
Brazel only linked the debris he had discovered three weeks earlier to the flying discs in the news on Saturday night. Tinfoil, rubber, and thin wooden beams were among the detritus strewn around the ranch’s square mile. It had previously been collected by Brazel, who then hid it under some bushes.
Brazel decided to collect his earlier find after hearing rumors about silvery flying discs that Saturday night in Corona. On Monday, July 7, Brazel brought the debris into the Roswell sheriff’s office after excavating it on Sunday, July 6.
When the sheriff called Roswell Army Air Field, Major Jesse Marcel was given the situation. Brazel drove Marcel back to the pile of trash, where the two dug up more rubber and tinfoil. On Monday night, Marcel brought the item home.
Marcel delivered the information to Colonel William Blanchard, the commander of his base, on Tuesday morning, July 8. General Roger Ramey was informed of the discovery by Blanchard at Fort Worth Army Air Field (FWAAF). General Ramey commanded that the supplies be flown to FWAAF right away. After boarding a B-29 Superfortress, Marcel flew to FWAAF.
The 509th Operations Group of the field discovered a “flying disc” that had crashed on a property close to Roswell, according to a news release from RAAF public information officer Walter Haut dated July 8, 1947.
“Yesterday, the numerous stories about the flying disc proved true when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to obtain a disc thanks to the collaboration of one of the area ranchers and the sheriff’s office of Chaves County.
The flying object came down last week on a ranch close to Roswell. The rancher kept the disc because he only had access to a phone once he could get in touch with the sheriff’s office, which then alerted Maj. Jesse A. Marcel of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office.
The disc was picked up at the rancher’s house without delay after prompt action was taken. Major Marcel loaned it to higher headquarters after it underwent inspection at Roswell Army Air Field.”
Years later, Frank Joyce, a radio announcer in Roswell, remembers calling Haut to confirm the release. “I told Walter, don’t run this story,” Joyce recalled. You’re going to get into problems if you do that. They’ll transport you to Siberia. That was a widely used expression back then, as I recall stating.”
Marcel presented the material to General Ramey, who immediately recognized it as parts of a weather balloon kite with his chief of staff, Colonel Thomas Dubose. About 80 weather stations across the nation use such “ray wind” sensors, according to the on-duty FWAAF meteorologist who spoke with the media.
A six-pointed reflecting object resembling a silver star was used to hold the balloons. After taking off, the balloon became more extensive as it ascended, expanding to a height of around 60,000 feet before it exploded, with the fragments scattering as they fell to the ground.
According to the Roswell Daily Record’s article from the morning of July 9, 1947:
If that was how it worked, the balloon that held it up must have been 12 feet [3.5 m] long, based on how ample the space was where [Brazel] was sitting. The rubber, which was smoky grey in color, was dispersed throughout a circle with a circumference of about 200 yards (180 meters).
The rubber formed a bundle around 18 or 20 inches [45 or 50 cm] long and about 8 inches [20 cm] thick when the trash was collected. The tinfoil, paper, tape, and sticks formed a bundle approximately three feet [1 m] long and 7 or 8 inches [18 or 20 cm] thick. He calculated that everything would have weighed around five pounds [2 kg].
Although at least one paper fin had adhered to some of the tinfoil, there was no trace of any metal that could have been used as an engine or a propeller. Although there were letters on some of the pieces, there were no words to be discovered anywhere on the instrument.
The construction involved the use of a lot of Scotch tape and some tape with floral prints. There were no wires or strings to be found, but some eyelets were in the paper, suggesting that an attachment of some kind may have been employed.
Brazel described the debris to the Roswell Daily Record as “a vast expanse of bright wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, a pretty tough paper, and sticks” on July 9. He paid it little mind but returned to gather some of the trash with his wife and daughter.
Marcel provided the following explanation on July 9: “[We] spent a few hours Monday afternoon [July 7] seeking for any more parts of the weather instrument,” Marcel stated. “We discovered a couple more spots of rubber and tinfoil.”
After hearing rumors about “flying discs” and wondering if that was what he had picked up, Brazel reportedly went to visit Sheriff Wilcox and “whispered sorta confidential like” he could have found a flying disc.
Was the Roswell Incident a Coverup?
After the initial newspaper reports in 1947, the Roswell incident was forgotten by the general public for more than 30 years before it was brought back to light in the late 1970s. There have been movies, TV series, and novels on the Roswell incident.
Numerous hoaxes and legends about “alien bodies” found their way into the Roswell mythos amid ever-more intricate conspiracy theories. The climax of the craze was 1995’s alleged footage of an “Alien Autopsy,” which the creators later admitted was a, as they would say it, “reconstruction.”
Why Did the Roswell Incident Blow up in 1978?
Stanton Friedman, a UFO researcher, spoke with Jesse Marcel in February 1978. Marcel is the only individual to have traveled with the Roswell debris from where it was found to Fort Worth, where reporters saw material allegedly taken from the recovered item.
The claims made by Marcel were in direct opposition to those he made to the press in 1947.
Friedman co-wrote a documentary called “UFOs Are Real,” which included Marcel’s first interview on film in November 1979. Although the movie only had a brief run, it was later distributed for TV. The Marcel story gained widespread exposure on February 28, 1980, according to the sensationalist newspaper The National Enquirer.
In an interview that Marcel discussed his involvement in the 1947 press conference, the TV program In Search of… aired on September 20, 1980:
“They wanted me to comment, but I wasn’t allowed to. I was therefore limited to being silent. And General Ramey is the one who brought up the topic and told the reporters, er, I mean the newspapers, what it was and to move on. It is nothing more than a balloon used to observe the weather. We both knew the truth, of course.”
America Undercover on HBO aired Marcel’s final interview in August 1985. Marcel maintained his denial of the bodies’ existence throughout his statements.
Researchers who studied UFOs, including Stanton T. Friedman, William Moore, Karl T. Pflock, and the team of Kevin D. Randle and Donald R. Schmitt, conducted interviews with dozens of people who said they were connected to the 1947 events at Roswell between 1978 and the beginning of the 1990s.
The Case of Roswell (1980)
The Roswell Incident by Charles Berlitz and William Moore was published in October 1980 and included Marcel’s account. The writers had previously published well-read books on unusual subjects like the Philadelphia Experiment and the Bermuda Triangle. Even though he wasn’t given credit, Friedman did some research for the book.
According to the book’s plot, an alien craft was observing US nuclear weapons activity while flying over the desert of New Mexico when lightning struck and crashed, killing the aliens on board. A government cover-up naturally ensued.
According to historian Kathy Olmsted, the story recounted in that book has been known as “version 1” of the Roswell legend. Until the late 1980s, when other writers began penning competing narratives after becoming interested in the financial potential of writing about Roswell, Berlitz and Moore’s story held sway.
The Remains of the UFO at Roswell
The Roswell Incident included reports of objects that Marcel referred to as “nothing made on this earth.”
Walt Whitman Jr., son of newsman W. E. Whitman who had interviewed Mac Brazel, Bill Brazel, son of rancher Mac Brazel and Floyd Proctor, a neighbor, all provided additional accounts that suggested the material Marcel recovered had super-strength unrelated to a weather balloon.
The book argued that debris from a weather device was misidentified as debris from Marcel’s find at the Foster ranch, which is evident in photos of Marcel posing with the trash. The book also asserted that the journalists were not allowed to examine the ranch debris closely.
The military’s actions were said to be taken to discredit them and “counteract the growing hysteria towards flying saucers.” The book contained two accounts of witness intimidation, one involving Mac Brazel’s detention.
Even though the authors claimed to have spoken with over 90 witnesses, the testimony of only 25 is included in the book. Of these, only seven people asserted to have seen the debris. Five of these said they had handled it.
Did they find alien bodies at Roswell?
The Roswell Incident (1980) was the first book to present the contentious first-person accounts of the civil engineer Grady “Barney” Barnett and a group of archaeology students from an unspecified university coming across the wreckage and “alien bodies” while on the Plains of San Agustin before being escorted away by the Army.
Ufologists referred to the secondhand Barnett stories as “the one aspect of the account that seemed to conflict with the basic story about the retrieval of highly unusual debris from a sheep ranch outside Corona, New Mexico, in July 1947.”
The Aztec, New Mexico, UFO incident—a fake flying saucer crash that gained national attention after being promoted by journalist Frank Scully in his articles and a 1950 book titled Behind the Flying Saucers—is the source of information for many so-called first-person accounts of the Roswell incident. Stories of humanoid bodies and metals with peculiar properties were part of the hoax.
UFO Crash at Roswell was released in 1991 by Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt. They added the evidence of 100 additional witnesses, some of whom described a complex military cordon and waste cleanup effort at the Foster property.
The book contained the most recent assertions regarding a “gouge” at the ranch that “extended four or five hundred feet [120 or 150 m]”.
Exon contradicted Randle and Schmitt’s assertion that he had direct knowledge of the bodies and debris, claiming that they had only been the subject of hearsay. 160,000 copies of the 1991 novel, which inspired the 1994 television movie Roswell, were sold.
A retired USAF Brigadier General, Thomas DuBose, publicly admitted the weather balloon cover story in 1991, corroborating Marcel’s earlier admissions. DuBose had posed with debris for press photos in 1947.
The Barnett “alien body” accounts were mentioned in the 1991 book, though the dates and places differed from those in The Roswell Incident from the 1980s.
According to this new account, Brazel led the Army to a second crash site on the ranch where they were allegedly “horrified to find civilians [including Barnett] there already.”
The stories of mortician Glenn Dennis were prominently featured in the 1991 film UFO Crash at Roswell, based on his alleged eyewitness account. Second-hand accounts of “Barney” Barnett seeing alien bodies taken by the Army were featured in an Unsolved Mysteries episode from September 20, 1989.
Dennis, a mortician, had called the show’s hotline and claimed to be aware of the happenings. Dennis asserted that he had received “four or five calls” from the Air Base asking about body preservation and seeking information on tiny or hermetically sealed caskets.
He also stated that a local nurse had informed him that she had seen an “alien autopsy.” The initial claim of alien corpses at the Roswell Army Air Base was made in Dennis’s tales of Roswell’s alien autopsy. According to Pflock, Dennis’ story “sounds like a B-grade thriller created by Oliver Stone.”
Together with former RAAF public affairs officer Walter Haut and real estate salesman Max Littell, Dennis co-founded a UFO museum in Roswell in September 1991. Dennis made several appearances in documentaries, telling the same tale.
Randle regarded Glenn Dennis as one of the “least credible” Roswell witnesses. For changing the nurse’s name after it was established that she didn’t exist, Randle claimed Dennis was unreliable.
Given that Dennis appeared to have waited more than 40 years before beginning to recount a series of unrelated events, author Brian Dunning of the scientific skeptic movement agrees that Dennis cannot be taken as a trustworthy witness.
According to Dunnings, these incidents were subsequently arbitrarily combined to create the most widely accepted explanation for the alleged alien crash. Leading UFOlogists Karl T. Pflock, Kent Jeffrey, and William L. Moore are convinced that no extraterrestrial life or spacecraft were involved in the Roswell crash.
Crash at Corona, written by Stanton Friedman and Don Berliner, was published in 1992.
The number of flying saucers was doubled to two in the book, and the number of aliens was increased to eight; two of these were rumored to have survived and been captured by the government, adding to the narrative and introducing new “witnesses.”
Another book by Randle and Schmitt, The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell, was published in 1994. It claimed Dwight D. Eisenhower was given access to alien bodies via cargo plane.
Ufologists disagreed on what happened at Roswell because there are so many conflicting accounts of what happened there. The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), two prominent UFO societies, had different opinions on the various scenarios put forth by Randle-Schmitt and Friedman-Berliner.
Several conferences were held to try to resolve the disagreements. Where Barnett was when he allegedly came across the alien craft was one of the topics under discussion.
The publication of The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell “resolved” the Barnett issue by simply ignoring Barnett and citing a new location for the alien craft recovery, as well as a new group of archaeologists who were unrelated to those the Barnett story cited.
A 1992 UFO conference attempted to reach a consensus among the scenarios depicted in Crash at Corona and UFO Crash at Roswell.
The Roswell Incident Garners Attention
Following inquiries from the US Congress, the General Accounting Office opened an investigation and gave the US Air Force Secretary’s Office the go-ahead to conduct internal research. Two reports provided summaries of the findings.
The first study, published in 1994, concluded that the items found in 1947 were probably left over from Project Mogul, a military surveillance program using high-altitude balloons (and a classified portion of an unclassified New York University project by atmospheric researchers).
The second report, published in 1997, concluded that reports of recovered alien bodies were likely a combination of hoaxes perpetrated by various witnesses and UFO enthusiasts mixed with memories of accidents involving military casualties that were innocently transformed.
The discrepancy with the years under consideration was explained by the psychological effects of time compression and the uncertainty surrounding the exact dates of events.
By the 1990s, academic opinion had settled on the military’s decision to mislead the public and claim that the weather balloon had crashed instead of the crashed device’s real mission, nuclear test monitoring.
One month prior, the balloon had been sent into the air from Alamogordo Army Air Field. For experimental monitoring of Soviet nuclear testing, it was equipped with a radar reflector and sensitive Project Mogul sensors.
Researchers who had been skeptical about reports of aliens for years, like Philip J. Klass and Robert Todd, used the Air Force reports as the basis for their skepticism in response to claims made by UFO proponents.
However, UFO proponents rejected the reports as either disinformation or simply implausible. In the years following the publication of the Air Force reports, several books—including Kal Korff’s The Roswell UFO Crash: What They Don’t Want You To Know (1997)—built on the data contained in the reports and concluded that “no credible evidence from any witness has turned out to present a compelling case that the object was extraterrestrial in origin.”
Autopsy of an Alien at Roswell?
Ray Santilli, a London-based video entrepreneur, released film footage in 1995 that claimed to show an alien autopsy and had been captured by a US military official soon after the Roswell incident. The video went viral after it was broadcast on international television networks.
In 2006, Santilli acknowledged that the movie was essentially a reconstruction. Still, he insisted that it was based on an actual video that had since been destroyed and some purportedly surviving original frames.
The comedy movie Alien Autopsy retold a fictional account of how the footage was made and released (2006).
When he was posted to Fort Riley (Kansas) in July 1947, a Sergeant reportedly showed him purportedly nonhuman bodies that were from an “air crash,” according to former Lt. Col. Philip J. Corso, who wrote about the Roswell Crash in his autobiographical book The Day After Roswell in 1997.
Corso added that he had been involved in managing a project to reverse-engineer recovered crash debris years earlier. A line-by-line analysis of his claims by Philip Klass revealed numerous contradictions and factual mistakes.
The plot of Corso’s novel was compared to that of the movie “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” which had been released six years earlier. In that movie, ordinary people covertly attempt to reverse-engineer extraordinary technology with an unidentified source.
Top documents on the Roswell Incident
The book Witness to Roswell, written by Tom Carey and Donald Schmitt, was published in 2007. It displayed a document, allegedly an affidavit by Walter Haut, who had initially reported the first Army press release about the 1947 Roswell crash.
The paper, which Haut is said to have left behind and which was only read after his death in 2005, details how Haut had seen alien bodies and how the 1947 crash debris had been discussed by senior staff.
However, even ufologists were underwhelmed by the claims; Dennis Balthaser claimed that Haut did not write the paper and that by 2000, Haut’s mental state was such that he could not recollect even the most basic information about his life, making the specifics in the affidavit questionable.
On October 26, 2007, Bill Richardson, who was up for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, was questioned about making government documents about Roswell available. Richardson retorted that he had tried to obtain information for his constituents in New Mexico.
At the same time, he was a Congress member, but the Department of Defense and Los Alamos Labs had informed him that the data was secret.
The government “doesn’t tell the truth as much as it should on many issues,” he said, “and that irritated me.” If elected president, he vowed to work toward unlocking the files.
The Conspiracy Surrounding Stalin and Mengele (2011)
According to a 2011 article by American journalist Annie Jacobsen in the book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin hired Josef Mengele, a German SS officer, and doctor in Auschwitz, to create “grotesque, child-size aviators” that would be remotely piloted and landed in America to cause hysteria akin to that in Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds (1938).
The Federation of American Scientists criticized the book for having numerous errors. The Washington Post article by historian Richard Rhodes criticized the book’s sensationalistic reporting of “old news” and its “error-ridden” reporting.
All of [her primary source’s] claims are supported by one or more of the widely accessible books and documents about Roswell, UFOs, and Area 51 that have been produced over the past 60 years by believers, con artists, and academics.
Jacobsen demonstrates herself to be, at the very least, extraordinarily credulous or incompetent as a journalist by attributing the stories she reports to an unnamed engineer and veteran of the Manhattan Project while ostensibly failing to conduct even rudimentary research into sources.
Kodachrome slides that some claimed depicted a dead space alien were the subject of a report in the UK newspaper The Guardian in September 2017.
Days later, it was discovered that the slides were those of a mummified Native American child found in 1896 and on display at the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum in Mesa Verde, Colorado, for many years.
They had been initially presented at a BeWitness event in Mexico that Jaime Maussan organized, and almost 7,000 people attended that.
An Air Force historian made public a newly declassified account of a 1951 incident involving two Roswell personnel retrieving a weather balloon while wearing ill-fitting radioactive suits and oxygen masks in February 2020.
On one occasion, they came across a lone woman in the desert who, upon seeing them, passed out. The staff could have seemed alien to someone unfamiliar with the then-modern equipment.
Evidence of Roswell Incident
Believers steadfastly hold to the belief that an alien spaceship did crash near Roswell. Still, the truth has been covered up by a government conspiracy, despite the lack of convincing evidence for any such spacecraft. According to B. D. Gildenberg, the Roswell incident is “the world’s most famous, most thoroughly investigated, and debunked UFO claim.”
The Roswell case is a prime example of quantity triumphing over quality, according to Pflock. “The proponents of the crashed-saucer story… put everything that appears to support their argument in the box labeled Evidence and exclaim, “See? Take a look at everything.
We must be correct. Don’t worry about the contradictions. Never mind that there isn’t a reliable supporting fact. Forget about the apparent absurdities.”
According to Korff, many researchers were not producing high-quality work, and some were promoting the idea of aliens at Roswell for apparent financial gain: “[The] UFO field is comprised of people who are willing to take advantage of the gullibility of others, especially the paying public.
“Let’s not mince words; the Roswell UFO myth has been very profitable for UFO organizations, publishers, Hollywood, the town of Roswell, the media, and Ufology. A shockingly small number of researchers use science and its methodical approach.
As many as 11 reported alien recovery sites were reported, according to B. D. Gildenberg, and these recoveries only barely resembled the incident as initially said in 1947 or as later narrated by the original witnesses.
Some of these brand-new accounts might have been confused with the numerous recovered service members—alive and dead—from the four nearby military plane crashes between 1948 and 1950. As the Air Force suggested in their reports, other accounts might have been based on recollections of test dummy recoveries.
According to Charles Ziegler, the Roswell tale possesses every characteristic of an age-old folktale. He discovered six different narratives, a method of transmission through storytellers, and a central narrative that was developed from a variety of witness accounts and later shaped and molded by those who uphold the UFO community’s traditions.
Then, additional “witnesses” were sought to broaden the central narrative; those providing testimony at odds with the main assumptions were rejected or left out by the “gatekeepers.” The story was then told again by others in a modified form. Time and again, this entire process would occur.
Different Accounts of What Happened at Roswell
Few of the hundreds of people interviewed by researchers who claimed to have seen debris or aliens actually did. Most witnesses were merely restating prior assertions.
Only 41 of the more than 300 people who were allegedly interviewed for the UFO Crash at Roswell (1991) can be “considered genuine first- or second-hand witnesses,” according to Pflock, and only 23 people can be “reasonably thought to have seen physical evidence, debris.”
Only seven have made any claims that allude to extraterrestrial origins for the debris.
“Actually, this material may have looked like tin foil and balsa wood, but the resemblance ended there,” Marcel said in The Roswell Incident. They photographed me on the ground while I was holding up some of the less attractive metallic scraps.
The items in that single photograph were pieces of the things we discovered. It wasn’t a staged photo, either. Timothy Printy points out that both skeptics and UFO enthusiasts agree that the material Marcel positively identified as part of what he recovered is debris from a balloon device.
When that fact was brought to his attention, Marcel revised his account to claim that the material was not what he had recovered. Robert Todd and other skeptics asserted that Marcel had a history of embellishment and exaggeration, including claims that he had been a pilot and had earned five Air Medals for shooting down adversary aircraft.
These claims were all later proven false, and skeptics believe his developing Roswell story was just another example of this propensity to fabricate.
Alien Body Witnesses’ Problems
Regarding those who claimed to have seen aliens, detractors pointed out issues with the veracity of first-hand accounts, the credibility of witnesses who made demonstrably false claims, or multiple, contradictory accounts, as well as questions about deathbed confessions or statements from elderly and easily misled witnesses.
Pflock pointed out that the Roswell authors only spoke with four people who had supposedly firsthand knowledge of alien bodies. At least 31 years passed before any reports of any bodies were made.
According to urban legend, the 1947 flying saucer crash near Roswell was caused by creatures known as “greys.” While some claim that some greys survived, others argue that the greys’ bodies were discovered among the debris. However, the Roswell incident does not mention any alien bodies until 1980.
Beginning with the Betty and Barney Hill incident, the concept of grey aliens became widely accepted between 1947 and 1980. Betty Hill and her husband Barney decided to see a psychiatrist in December 1963 because Betty had frequent nightmares.
The Outer Limits, a science fiction television program, featured an alien with big, wraparound eyes in one of its episodes that aired on the ABC Network on February 10, 1964. During a hypnosis session twelve days later, Barney Hill told his psychiatrist a tale about a being with wrap-around eyes.
According to current psychiatric consensus, Hill suffered from false memory syndrome, where therapy techniques like hypnosis cause confabulation.
A made-for-TV film based On the Hills that starred James Earl Jones was broadcast on the NBC network on October 20, 1975. Later, Grey aliens would be depicted in various books, movies, and TV shows, including the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The legend of Roswell would later include Greys.
What Do the US Presidents Say About the Roswell Incident?
President Obama joked, “I come in peace,” during a 2012 trip to Roswell. Obama made a joke with Stephen Colbert in December 2020 when he said: “UFOs and Roswell used to be the giant conspiracy. And now that seems so mild, the notion that the government might possess an extraterrestrial spacecraft.”
Former President Bill Clinton stated in a 2014 interview that his administration had looked into the incident, adding, “When the Roswell thing came up, I knew we’d get gazillions of letters. I, therefore, had everything in the Roswell papers reviewed.
Obama said, “I gotta tell you, it’s a little disappointing,” when GQ magazine questioned him in 2015 about whether he had looked at top-secret classified information. “People frequently inquire about Roswell, aliens, and UFOs, but the top-secret information isn’t nearly as thrilling as you might think. It’s not as top secret as you might think in the modern world.”
When asked if he would consider disclosing more details about the Roswell incident in June 2020, then-President Donald Trump responded, “I won’t talk to you about what I know about it, but it’s exciting.”
The Question of Roswell Remains
Most of those surveyed in a CNN/Time poll conducted in June 1997 believed that aliens had indeed visited Earth and landed at Roswell but that the US government was withholding all pertinent information.
The 1980s public obsession with “conspiracy, cover-up, and repression” aligned well with the Roswell narratives as told in the “sensational books” that were being published, say anthropologists Susan Harding and Kathleen Stewart, who claim that the Roswell Story was a prime example of how a discourse moved from the margins to the mainstream according to the prevailing zeitgeist.
Furthermore, skeptics and a few social anthropologists believed that the detailed accounts of alien crash landings and government cover-ups were proof that a myth was being created.
The “Roswellian syndrome” is a myth-making process identified by well-known skeptics Joe Nickell and James McGaha.
According to this syndrome, a myth can go through five stages of development, including an incident, a debunking, a submersion, a mythologizing, a re-emergence, and the media bandwagon effect. According to the authors, the Roswellian syndrome would “play out again and again” in other UFOs and conspiracy theories.
“Is Roswell still the “best” UFO incident?” asks physicist and skeptic Dave Thomas. “UFO believers need to be extremely worried if it is.”
Hope you enjoyed that one. In any case, I bet you’d love to read about The Murderous Man Who Inspired Leatherface next. Then, if you want more alien tales (true, of course), try the story of The Rendlesham Forest Incident: Aliens In an Airbase!
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