The Roswell UFO sighting is the most famous UFO sighting in history. Even the casual UFO observer has heard about it. The subject of countless TV shows and the basis of many movies, it's hard to ignore the influence it has had on popular culture. Debate over the crash continued for nearly 50 years, with various witnesses claiming to have seen the debris, before the United States Government took a final position on the matter with the release of The Roswell Report.
According to Wikipedia: In early June 1947, a foreman working on a homestead about 30 miles north of Roswell, New Mexico found some debris. The man, named William Brazel, didn't pay the wreckage much mind but returned to the site with his son on July 4th. The next day, Brazel heard reports about "flying discs" and began to wonder if what he had discovered could be related.
On July 7, Brazel mentioned to local Sheriff Wilcox that he may have found one of the flying discs. Major Jesse Marcel and a "man in plainclothes" accompanied Brazel back to the ranch where more pieces of the wreckage 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."
This led to a press release on July 8, 1947 by Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) public information officer Walter Haut - who stated that the 509th Operations Group had recovered a "flying disc" which had crashed on a ranch near Roswell. The local paper, the Roswell Daily Record, published the news on July 9, 1947. Brazel had 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."
Hundreds of people were interviewed that had some connection to the events in Roswell. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, and the release by unknown insiders of documents related to Majestic 12, led most to conclude that indeed, a space ship had crashed in the New Mexico desert where at least one alien body was recovered. Furthermore, the US Government had perpetrated a concerted effort to conceal the truth about the crash from the American people.
Though the Air force changed its original story about the wreckage being a flying disc and stated that the debris was from a weather balloon, skeptics felt that a series of dummy drops proved their point: during the 1950's the Airforce employed a technique of conducting dummy drops to test the effects of high altitude on pilots. Bandaged dummies with latex “skin” and aluminum “bones” were dropped onto the ground in remote locations and retrieved as quickly as possible by the local military. it's easy to see how these faceless dummies could be confused for alien bodies. More extreme conspiracy theorists insisted that the dummies were actually kidnapped extraterrestrials who were used for these government experiments.
There was a more plausible, though secret, explanation for the Roswell Crash: Project Mogul. The Army had been working on a top-secret atomic espionage project at New Mexico’s Alamogordo Air Field that they called Project Mogul since World War II. According to the History Channel:
A group of geophysicists and oceanographers from Columbia University, New York University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod used sturdy high-altitude balloons to carry low-frequency sound sensors into the part of the Earth’s atmosphere that acts as a sound channel. In this part of the atmosphere, sound waves can travel for thousands of miles without interference, much like under the ocean. The scientists believed that if they sent microphones into this sound channel, they would be able to eavesdrop on nuclear tests as far away as the Soviet Union.
This meant that the debris that Brazel had found in that pasture outside of Roswell was actually the remains of a 700-foot-long string of neoprene balloons, radar reflectors (for tracking) and sonic equipment that the scientists had launched from the Alamogordo base in June.
Since the project was highly classified, no one at the Roswell Army Air Field even knew that it existed, and were just as confused by it as Brazel. Some officials on the base did fear that the wreckage had come from a Russian spy plane or satellite, but they couldn't have shared that information with the general public. The “weather balloon” story, flimsy though it was, was the best explanation they could come up with on short notice. Of course, keeping the project secret meant that no one at Alamogordo could say anything to clear up the confusion.
Military Release of the Roswell Report
The Roswell Crash led to countless books debating the subject, including significant research by noted UFOlogist Stanton Friedman. Hoaxes were perpetrated aimed at proving the crash real: a video called the alien autopsy claimed to be footage of an autopsy performed on the recovered bodies from the debris.
In the 1990's, the US military published two reports disclosing the true nature of the crashed object: a nuclear test surveillance balloon from Project Mogul. The epic report has nearly 1000 pages of findings and documents meant to be a final answer to the Roswell Crash. Though the case may appear to be closed, many people are still not convinced of the weather balloon story and continue to embrace the UFO theory - believing rather that alien bodies were recovered and a cover up still exists. Thousands of these curiosity seekers visit the small town of Roswell and the crash site every year hoping to find their own answer to the mystery.
Download the Full Roswell Report Here