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How Roswell Started Our Love Affair with Aliens and UFOs

Written by on Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Today we’re going to take a detour off the trodden path and go into X-Files territory. That’s right – today’s all about UFOs and little green men.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Uh oh, this writer has just proven that he’s a nut-job conspiracy theorist.”

Not exactly. I’m not going to try to convince you that the skies are filled with Martians who abduct cows and carve out crop circles – that’s just silly. Regardless of how dubious these urban legends really are, the fact of the matter is that the United States Air Force has had a long and troublesome relationship with people who believe in UFOs, and that is something that’s interesting enough to write about all on its own.

Aliens

Image source: Usahitman.com

If you think about it, it’s kind of inevitable that the USAF and UFO conspiracy theorists would cross paths. After all, if any organization on Earth would know about unidentified flying objects, it’s the US Air Force. On top of that, the USAF naturally wants to keep all of their classified files hush-hush. So, when a bunch of civilians look up into the skies and see bizarre lights, the USAF can’t exactly say, “Oh, don’t worry about those lights, they’re just from a super-top-secret aircraft that we’re testing out.”

The origin of the USAF-UFO controversy can be traced back to the most famous case of all, the Roswell Incident. Back in July of 1947, the US Armed Forces recovered wreckage from an object that crashed in a ranch at Roswell, New Mexico. Walter Haut, a public information officer for the Roswell Army Air Field, issued a seemingly innocent press release that sparked this controversy:

“The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain buy antibiotics germany possession of a disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff’s office of Chaves County. The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week. Not having phone facilities, the rancher stored the disc until such time as he was able to contact the sheriff’s office, who in turn notified Maj. Jesse A. Marcel of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office. Action was immediately taken and the disc was picked up at the rancher’s home. It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters.”

Roswell Newspaper

Image source: Wikipedia.org

A second press report released the next day clarified that it was a weather balloon and not a flying disk, but by then the media had already run away with the story. Local newspapers were printing that the Army was recovering a bona fide flying saucer.

The rumor mill continued to work its magic. Some alleged eyewitnesses claimed that the military was recovering alien spacecraft – and even actual aliens – from several different crash sites. A local mortician supported the stories when he said that autopsies of alien corpses had been conducted at Roswell.

Since then, the stories have been discredited as hoaxes and investigators have found that the evidence supporting the UFO theory is shoddy at best. Of course, UFO proponents claim that this is a government cover-up engineered to keep the public in the dark.

What made the whole Roswell situation so much worse is that the nearby Area 51 gave conspiracy theorists plenty of ammunition. The base has been highly secretive, and as a matter of fact the government did not even publicly acknowledge its existence until 1995. Is that because they’re experimenting on alien spaceships? Not likely, though that’s not going to stop sites like this one from feeding the urban legend.

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