The Roswell Incident
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As the years passed, the Roswell story grew into a fantastically detailed saga. The debris that Major Marcel reported had fitted into the boot of his car grew into the wreckage of an entire alien spacecraft that was secretly moved by the military to an air force base in Ohio. Alien bodies were said to have been found in the spacecraft.
The aliens were described as small, with large heads and suction cups on their fingers. One alien was reported to have been alive when found but was kept hidden by the Government.
Roswell UFO incident
Park explains the emergence of the Roswell saga as the product of over-active imaginations stitching together bits and pieces of reports of unrelated plane crashes, parachute experiments involving roughly life-like dummies, and so on, even though some of these events occurred many miles from Roswell and years later. The story grew into a full-scale myth of an encounter with extra-terrestrials, the details of which the Government found too frightening to share with the people and consequently they, it was believed, covered up the whole thing.
As it turns out, there was a government cover-up, but not of an alien spacecraft. It involved a secret government programme from the s, Project Mogul. By summer the Russians had not yet exploded their first atomic bomb, but it was clear this test was imminent. It was most important for America to know when the test took place. Project Mogul was an attempt to listen for the explosion by launching low-frequency microphones to high altitude where sound waves can propagate around the globe.
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Microphones, radar tracking reflectors and other devices were sent aloft on long trains of weather balloons to listen for the atomic explosion. These balloon trains were launched in New Mexico from a point about miles west of Roswell. Flight 4 was launched on June 4th, and was tracked to within 17 miles of where Brazel found the wreckage, when contact was lost.
The debris found at Roswell matches the materials used in the balloon trains. Park believes the crash of Flight 4 was the birth of what has become known as the Roswell Incident. Project Mogul remained secret until , when Steven Schiff, a Congressman from New Mexico, insisted on an all-out search for records and witnesses to reassure the public there was no government cover-up of Roswell. Had the truth been revealed about Project Mogul in , it would almost certainly have killed off speculation about the Roswell debris, but the truth emerged 50 years too late.
For many UFO-enthusiasts, the government secrecy over Project Mogul simply reinforced their conviction that the government also covered up the far more sensitive matter of contact with extra-terrestrials. The Russians carried out their first atomic test in August, , which quickly became common knowledge. At that stage what possible advantage was there for the government to hide Project Mogul, especially when revealing some details would prevent the growth of a potentially dangerous myth? Any reasonable person would allow government the freedom to maintain a certain level of secrecy in some areas, particularly at times of war or threat of war.
Unfortunately this concession to government is wide open to abuse and leads to a culture of secrecy. Keeping secrets inevitably leads to lies and inevitably some of these lies are found out. This destroys trust. Polls in the US now show a growing number of people think the government is covering up information about UFOs.
When the public loses trust in government experts, there is a ripple effect outwards of diminished trust in all expert scientific opinion. As the tide of trust recedes it is smoothly replaced by receptivity to all sorts of pseudo-science and even outright superstition - and this apparently is the unfortunate legacy of the crash of a weather balloon at Roswell in One possible explanation for this is that the reporting centre became both better known and easier to contact with the advent of new technologies such as fax machines and the internet.
In , The Economist analysed the available data from to and found that most UFOs were reported when people were drunk.
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Even though Project Mogul was declassified in the s, it wasn't fully connected to Roswell until when the normally secretive National Security Agency finally published an in-depth report refuting all claims of a conspiracy at the site. A second report , released in , concluded that reports of alien bodies actually related to life-sized anthropomorphic test dummies.
But by providing detailed analysis of the Roswell incident, many analysts believe that the US government inadvertently fuelled interest in conspiracy theories and public suspicions that the US military was involved in a cover-up. Because of the huge notoriety surrounding the Roswell incident, the town has become Ground Zero for UFO conspiracists.
Aliens or Not? Everything You Need to Know About The Roswell Incident
Each year on the anniversary of the story, thousands of enthusiasts embrace all things alien and paranormal at a UFO Festival. There, they can dissect mock alien bodies and take part in scientific experiments. Last year, to mark 70 years since the incident was first reported, around 38, people turned up from all over the world. There will be some out at the mall at Galactic Con. Some will be at the UFO museum doing the seminars and workshops. You'll have some that will be going to the plays that are going on, some will be over at the planetarium, some will be here at this festival.
They're all over - we just embrace it. World News. See related. MH five years on: top conspiracy theories about missing Malaysia Airlines flight. Who killed JFK?
Investigating The Truth Behind The Roswell Incident
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