The Legend of Roswell
"Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence." -- Carl SaganOn the night of July 4, 1947, a fireball lit the sky north of Roswell, New Mexico. Brighter than any meteor, the brilliant object was observed by more than half a dozen people as it arced towards the earth.The crash site was quickly visited by a number of locals, including a pair of campers, a sheepherder, a team of archeologists, members of the Roswell fire and police departments, and ranch owner W.W. "Mac" Brazel.What the witnesses found was a 25-30' long aircraft, shaped like a guitar pick, which had crashed into a slope on desert terrain. Three bodies, each the size of a 10-year-old child, were lying outside the craft, with a fourth glimpsed inside. A border running through the inside of the ship revealed purple hierogyphics in an indecipherable language. Surrounding the crash was a debris field that was filled with scraps of a strange metal. As thin as newsprint, the metal could not be torn or burned. It would resume its original shape when crumpled. There were also hundreds of small "I" beams in the area, made of an indestructible substance that looked like plastic. Both the metal fragments and the I beams seemed as light as air.At 5:30 a.m. on July 5, the military moved in with a recovery team. Civilians were escorted from the scene and sworn to secrecy under the threat of death. Five bodies were recovered, including a living being who walked to an Army truck and was later seen walking with soldiers into a base hospital at Roswell Army Air Field.Within six hours, soldiers packaged the craft and its debris on trucks for shipment to their base at Roswell. Over the next few days, the ground was raked and industrial vacuum cleaners were brought in to insure that every shred of debris was removed.That night, a mortician in Roswell received a call from the base, asking for specific instructions on how to preserve bodies without damaging the blood or organs. Meanwhile, at the base, a preliminary autopsy was conducted prior to packing the beings in a 20'-long crate for shipment.At 2 a.m. on Monday, July 7, two jets left the base with the bodies and the debris. The plane with the living being was flown to Washington, D.C., where the creature soon died of critical injuries. Both planes ultimately arrived at Wright Field in Ohio. The base is later known as Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, home of the Air Force Institute of Technology.President Harry Truman and then-Chief of Staff Dwight Eisenhower were briefed on the alien visitation. They launched "Operation Majestic," an invisible diplomatic mission to the visitors which has involved every president and C.I.A. director since 1947. "Operation Moondust" was also launched by the Air Force to gather additional objects which fall from the skies. Its officers are the fabled "men in black."Meanwhile, back in Roswell, the military conducted a spin control operation on a story that had captured the world's attention. Earlier, a base officer had confirmed that a "flying disc" and aliens from another world had been retrieved, generating phone calls from the press as far away as Japan, Italy and London. But on July 8, the military revealed that the wreckage was nothing more than that of a weather balloon, and the story quickly died.So did the legend of Roswell. For more than 40 years the story of the crash is buried in the memory of more than 150 witnesses, coerced by threats from the U.S. government.The Official Version That's pretty much the legend of Roswell, a secret which lay buried in the public mind for more than 30 years before it bubbled up with a storm of books, television documentaries and movies based on the testimony of researchers and the original witnesses.Yet, how much of the legend is true and how much is simple mass hysteria and wishful thinking?Through the years, the U.S. Air Force has steadfastly maintained that the Roswell crash was nothing more than a weather balloon. Last month, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the crash, the Air Force coincidentally produced a number of crash test parachute dummies, claiming that these could have been mistaken for aliens -- even though the tests weren't conducted until the 1950s.Besides the weather balloon theory, other possibilities have included: * the crash of a top-secret experimental Northrup "flying wing" aircraft. * the explosion of a Japanese "balloon bomb" left over from WWII. * a Soviet rocket with five chimpanzees on board.Yet, if the Roswell crash was simply a weather balloon as the Air Force claims, why was there such an uproar at the base? Why were so many witnesses coerced? And why were thousands of pages of documentation on the incident classified as secret? Why are current Air Force documents on Roswell heavily censored if the crash was a simple weather balloon?Death Threats Today, more than 300 witnesses to the Roswell incident have been interviewed by both UFO researchers and objective journalists alike. Almost half of them are first-hand witnesses, with the remainder telling stories they heard from their parents, friends and aquaintances.Some eye witnesses tell of threats against their lives by military officers, according to the book The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell by Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt."At Roswell, the government went after everyone who knew anything with threats of prison or death," Randle and Schmitt claim. "Agents threatened entire families, expressing a willingness to murder children."* Chaves County Sheriff George A. Wilcox, for instance, alerted the military to the crash and provided them with a box full of debris. Yet, "When the incident happened, the military police came into the jailhouse and told George and I that if we ever told anything about this incident, talked about it in any way, not only would we be killed, but they would get the rest of the family," claims his wife, Inez.* A nurse who claimed to have participated in a gruesome autopsy at the base disappeared shortly thereafter. Glenn Davis, a young mortician who was dating her, was told that she had died in an air crash in England. He was told that if he wasn't careful, he'd be "picking his bones out of the sand" out in the desert.* Five soldiers armed with rifles showed up at the home of Frankie Rowe and threatened her family with death. "They didn't mince any words," Rowe claimed. "They could take us out in that desert, and no one would ever find us again."* Firefighters, police officers and the archeological team members were also sworn to secrecy on the threat of death or the loss of G.I. Bill educational benefits.The Visitors Researchers claim that autopsies of the corpses revealed that they were humanoid beings, weighing about 40 lbs., and measuring three-and-a-half to four feet in length.Their heads were slightly larger than a human's, although they did not look like the typical "alien" of popular myth. They had individualized features and large, round eyes. Their noses were slight, and their mouths were a virtual slit which was apparently not used for either communication or to eat. Their hands had four fingers, each tipped with a suction cup.Unspecified doctors who claim to have been at the autopsies say the visitors had mesh-like, reptilian skin. Their blood was a colorless fluid and they had no apparent reproductive organs or genitalia. There was no food or water intake, no digestive system, no intestinal or alimentary canal or rectal area found.The fly in the surgical ointment, however, is that the autopsy reports could be entirely bogus. No surgeon has ever come forward with an eyewitness account and photos. The Roswell base pathologist died before he could be interviewed and never shared his story, if he had one to begin with.There is one witness, however, whose testimony carries some weight. He is Brigadier General Arthur E. Exon. Gen. Exon is a pilot with 135 combat missions from WWII under his belt. He was a student at Wright Field in July, 1947. In 1964, he was assigned as commander of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Besides commanding the base, he also inspected the Roswell crash site.Gen. Exon claims that both the air crash material and the bodies were brought to Wright Field in July, 1947. Some say that they are housed there still, stored along with their files for eternity -- a secret which is widely believed by the American people, but which will never be shared.