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Roswell Incident

On this day, one of the world’s most famous conspiracy theories was born when a local newspaper in Roswell, New Mexico reported on the appearance of a supposed Unidentified Flying Object or UFO. Although it was officially reported as a high-altitude weather balloon, this report gave birth to countless conspiracy theories about the crash. Many continue to debate the nature of this incident to this day with some reporting that it is military coverup or it is proof of the existence of aliens.

Sighting Above the Skies

1947 was a strange time for the US. With the aftermath of WWII and the beginning of the Cold War, the US and other countries began entering what was dubbed as UFO craze. This was sparked in part by the fear of enemy planes flying over the country without anyone realizing it. With the American public not having much information about the exact capabilities of the Soviet Union, some believed that they might have advanced spy planes or bombers capable of reaching the US.

With this paranoia, many parts of the country were primed for panic if something out of the ordinary happened. That panic took place on July 8, 1947, in the sleepy town of Roswell, New Mexico. Here, local rancher, W.W. (“Mac”) Brazel discovered a strange crash site near the town. He reported a destroyed aircraft made of tinfoil, rubber, and sticks. When the sheriff discovered it, he reported the crash to the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF).

After collecting the ruins, the army reported that this flying disk had been retrieved from a nearby ranch. When the local newspaper, The Roswell Daily Record picked up the story, they immediately ran with it, claiming the military captured a flying saucer. 

With the atmosphere of paranoia in the area, it was no surprise that many people immediately assumed these belonged to aliens. Even when the military confirmed that the aircraft was simply a high-altitude balloon, the damage was done and conspiracy theories began to spread. 

Even Brazel himself admits he was skeptical of the military’s explanation, citing some advanced components that wouldn’t have been part of a weather balloon. (These were later confirmed to have been the balloon’s radar.)  This was captured in an interview conducted by the Roswell Morning Dispatch.

Over the years, the military would reveal more information about the project, saying that these balloons were part of a government project called Project Mogul which was meant to detect if the Soviet Union was testing nuclear weapons.

However, by this point, the world was caught up in the excitement and many began causing the military to simply cover up the existence of aliens. This became part of the region’s culture with Roswell becoming synonymous with aliens and that the military base nearby is a testing facility for captured alien technology. The town of Roswell meanwhile became a tourist hub for people looking to learn more about the supposed UFO incident, even opening the UFO Museum and Research Center.

However, the headline of the Roswell Daily Record will go down in history as the start of ufology.

“RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell Region.”

-Roswell Daily Record.

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