The Roswell UFO
Incident was the alleged recovery of extra-terrestrial debris, including
alien corpses, from an object which crashed near
On July 8, 1947, Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) public information office
A subsequent press conference was called, featuring debris from the
crashed object that confirmed the weather balloon description. The case
was quickly forgotten and almost completely ignored, even by UFO
researchers, for more than 30 years. Then, in 1978, physicist and
ufologist Stanton T. Friedman interviewed Major Jesse Marcel who was
involved with the original recovery of the debris in 1947. Marcel
expressed his belief that the military had covered up the recovery of an
alien spacecraft. His story spread through UFO circles, being featured
in some UFO documentaries at the time.
In February 1980, The National Enquirer ran its own interview with
Marcel, garnering national and worldwide attention for the
In response to
these reports, and after congressional inquiries, the General Accounting
Office launched an inquiry and directed the Office of the Secretary of
the Air Force to conduct an internal investigation. The result was
summarized in two reports. The first, released in 1995, concluded that
the reported recovered material in 1947 was likely debris from a secret
government program called Project Mogul, which involved high altitude
balloons meant to detect sound waves generated by Soviet atomic bomb
tests and ballistic missiles.
The second report,
released in 1997, concluded that reports of recovered alien bodies were
likely a combination of: innocently transformed memories of military
accidents involving injured or killed personnel; innocently transformed
memories of the recovery of anthropomorphic dummies in military programs
like Project High Dive conducted in the 1950s; and hoaxes perpetrated by
various witnesses and UFO proponents. The psychological effects of time
compression and confusion about when events occurred explained the
discrepancy with the years in question. These reports were dismissed by
UFO proponents as being either disinformation or simply implausible.
However, significant numbers of UFO researchers discount the probability
that the incident had anything to do with aliens.
On June 14, 1947,
William "Mac" Brazel noticed some strange clusters of debris while
working on the Foster homestead, where he was foreman, some 30 miles (50
km) north of
Brazel told the
Roswell Daily Record that he and his son saw a "large area of bright
wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, a rather tough paper and
sticks." He paid little attention to it but returned on July 4 with his
son, wife and daughter to gather up the material. Some accounts have
described Brazel as having gathered some of the material earlier,
rolling it together and stashing it under some brush. The next day,
Brazel heard reports about "flying discs" and wondered if that was what
he had picked up. On July 7, Brazel saw Sheriff Wilcox and "whispered
kinda confidential like" that he may have found a flying disc.
Another account quotes Wilcox as saying that Brazel reported the
object on July 6.
called Roswell Army Air Field. Major Jesse Marcel and a "man in
plainclothes" accompanied Brazel back to the ranch where more pieces
were picked up. "[We] spent a couple of hours Monday afternoon [July 7]
looking for any more parts of the weather device", said Marcel. "We
found a few more patches of tinfoil and rubber." They as described in
the July 9, 1947, edition of the Roswell Daily Record,
"The balloon which
held it up, if that was how it worked, must have been 12 feet long, [Brazel]
felt, measuring the distance by the size of the room in which he sat.
The rubber was smoky gray in color and scattered over an area about 200
yards in diameter. When the debris was gathered up, the tinfoil, paper,
tape, and sticks made a bundle about three feet long and 7 or 8 inches
thick, while the rubber made a bundle about 18 or 20 inches long and
about 8 inches thick. In all, he estimated, the entire lot would have
weighed maybe five pounds.
?There was no sign
of any metal in the area which might have been used for an engine, and
no sign of any propellers of any kind, although at least one paper fin
had been glued onto some of the tinfoil. There were no words to be found
anywhere on the instrument, although there were letters on some of the
parts. Considerable Scotch tape and some tape with flowers printed upon
it had been used in the construction. No strings or wires were to be
found but there were some eyelets in the paper to indicate that some
sort of attachment may have been used.?
A telex sent to an
FBI office from their office in Dallas, Texas, quoted a major from the
Eighth Air Force on July 8: ?"the disc is hexagonal in shape and was
suspended from a balloon [sic] by cable, which balloon [sic] was
approximately twenty feet in diameter. Major curtain further advised
that the object found resembles a high altitude weather balloon with a
radar reflector, but that telephonic conversation between their office
and Wright field had not [unintelligible] borne out this belief."
Early on Tuesday,
July 8, the Roswell Army Air Field issued a press release which was
immediately picked up by numerous news outlets:
"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 possession of a
disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the
sheriff's office of
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."
Colonel William H.
Blanchard, commanding officer of the 509th, contacted General Roger M.
Ramey of the Eighth Air Force in
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