The Roswell Daily Record
May 27, 2017
As every citizen of Roswell knows, the city is at the center of one of the greatest mysteries of all time. In 1947, something crashed in the New Mexico desert and was taken to Roswell Army Air Field –– now the Roswell International Air Center.
Believers say it was a crashed alien spacecraft, while skeptics argue that it was simply the wreckage of a weather balloon. As we approach the 70th anniversary of this much-debated incident, the Roswell Daily Record is launching a campaign to resolve the mystery for once and for all. To do so, we need your help.
While people argue to this day about what happened at Roswell in the summer of 1947, nobody disputes that something crashed. That’s because far from denying this, the military authorities actually helped get the story out –– at least at first. They signed off on text which read, in part, “The many rumors surrounding the flying disk 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 disk”. The Roswell Daily Record wrote this up as the lead story, under the headline “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region.” That July 8, 1947 front page headline is now as much a part of pop culture as the Roswell incident itself. However, just a day later the military changed their story and said that the “flying disk” had been identified as debris from a crashed weather balloon and the equipment it had been carrying. Whatever the truth, something crashed.
At 9:45 PM on July 2, 1947, residents in Roswell, New Mexico, observed a “big glowing object,”
race out of the Southeast and head northwest. Witnesses described it as oval shaped “like two inverted saucers faced mouth to mouth.” The a few days later, on July 8th, the Army Air Base (the Army and Air Force were still a single service in 1947), located just outside the city of Roswell, issued the following press release:
Roswell Army Air Base, Roswell, N.M. 8th July, 1947, A.M. – The many, 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 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 Major 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.
This statement, released by the base’s public relations officer Walter G. Haut, was picked up by wire services and appeared in newspapers across the United States and around the world. Within twenty-four hours, though, General Roger M. Ramey, commander of the Eight Air Force District, announced that the earlier report had been in error and the crashed flying saucer was only a spent weather balloon. “There’s no such gadget [as a flying saucer] known to the Army,” he stated, “at least not at this level.” Ramsey went on to say, “The whole affair has been most unfortunate, but in light of the excitement that has been stirred up lately by these so-called flying discs, it is not surprising.”
Despite this announcement rumors the Army had captured a flying saucer and hid it in a hanger at the Wright-Patterson AFB has continued ever since. Reports that debris was composed of “nothing made on this earth” and covered with hieroglyphic-like writing still circulate. Stories abound that the bodies of a dozen or so aliens were found in the wreckage. After 50 years these reports have not been confirmed and the Air Force still denies that the incident was anything, but a case of mistaken identity. Still, rumors about the Roswell incident continue to be repeated, perhaps fueled by the Army’s strange inability to differentiate a standard piece of meteorological equipment (a weather balloon, weighing about two pounds and composed of tin foil and balsa wood) from a flying saucer.
The truth may be something more than a weather balloon and less than a flying saucer. Two researchers, Robert G. Todd and Karl T. Pflock, have independently theorized that the debris found at the Mac Brazel ranch was an experimental flight from a secret project named “Mogul.” The Mogul Project was to develop balloons to be used to monitor Soviet nuclear detonations via low frequency acoustic microphones. Test flights for Mogul were made through early 1947 . One flight, flight #4, was launched on June 4th. Its last reported position was only 17 miles from were the Roswell wreckage was found.
Because flight #4 was not a simple weather balloon, but a train of balloons and radar targets that measured hundreds of feet in length, it might not be easily identified. This would explain the finder’s initial confusion about it. Also Flight #4 carried tape covered with strange symbols that might be the hieroglyphics reported by some witnesses.
Proponents of the saucer crash theory argue that 10-inch deep furrows, five hundred feet in length, found at the site could not have been made by the light-weight balloon train. Others point to witnesses who claim alien bodies were found a the Roswell crash (The Air Force has hinted that some of these so-called bodies may have been dummies used in parachute experiments). So the controversy continues.
In the summer of 1995 an additional chapter was added to Roswell when a film, supposedly showing the autopsy of the Roswell alien bodies, appeared. Skeptics called the film an elaborate hoax. Officials from Kodak, who were asked to examine the leader of the film, have confirmed that it was manufactured in the right time period, but were unable to examine and date the autopsy footage itself.