Monday, July 7, 2008

On this Day: UFO Sighted in Roswell, N.M.

On July 7, 1947, William Brazel reported seeing a UFO at his New Mexico ranch, sparking widespread public rumors about aliens and a U.S. government cover-up.

William “Mac” Brazel said he stared in awe as a massive, shining object cut through the muggy summer sky above his ranch in Roswell, N.M. He alerted local sheriff George Wilcox, and within hours the Roswell Army Air Field announced that it had come into possession of “a flying saucer.”

The Roswell incident set off a wave of public suspicion about the existence of extraterrestrial life forms.

A 1947 Federal Bureau of Investigation report stated that the alleged flying saucer had in fact been a radar-tracking balloon used by the military. However, the public was not convinced and accused the government of lying to cover up its retrieval of an alien spacecraft.

Area 51, a military base in Nevada, became a hot spot for controversy when people suggested that it was home to secret government operations.

In 1984 a series of false documents, known as the Majestic Twelve papers, began to surface, claiming that the government was involved in a top-secret alien conspiracy.

After a General Accounting Office inquiry in 1995, the Secretary of the Air Force said that the debris found in 1947 was remnants from the U.S. military’s Project Mogul, not pieces of alien spacecraft. The Air Force also explained that supposed “alien bodies” found near Roswell were in fact airmen who died in training accidents.

Although the Roswell incident has been largely dismissed as false, its excitement and mystery have inspired movies and video games.


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