Posts Tagged ‘UFO Museum’

alien zone in roswell

Alien Zone, a Main Street soda shop in Roswell, NM, November 2008, photo © 2008-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

It’s been over a year since my family took a trip to southern New Mexico, stopping off in that out-of-this-world place known as Roswell. We explored the International UFO Museum & Research Center, which when we were there didn’t seem all that global, well, except for the globes, or rather, discs hanging from the ceiling. We meandered up and down Main Street, which feels an awful lot like your run-of-the-mill small town, well, except for the pair of drunken aliens playing poker in a storefront window.

Roswell has been defined by a single event that happened in the first week of July 1947, an event that came to be known as “The Roswell Incident.” What I like about Roswell is that something happened to it those more than 60 years ago—something truly bizarre and mysterious—and in the absence of closure as to what exactly that something was, the citizens of Roswell, or at least those who keep the mystery alive, have embraced this event and allowed it to take on a life of its own.

There’s something beautiful about the unknown. You can dig all you want into the facts that are available and the eyewitnesses who are alive, but no matter how well you piece together everything that is known, the parts that you can’t fill in remain the most compelling.

flying saucers in roswell

Flying Saucers, painting in the UFO Museum, photo
© 2008-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

Here’s what is known and not known about The Roswell Incident (heavily excerpted from “The Roswell Incident” on the International UFO Museum & Research Center website):

W.W. “Mack” Brazel, a New Mexico rancher, saddled up his horse and rode out with the son of neighbors Floyd and Loretta Proctor, to check on the sheep after a fierce thunderstorm the night before. As they rode along, Brazel began to notice unusual pieces of what seemed to be metal debris, scattered over a large area. Upon further inspection, Brazel saw that a shallow trench, several hundred feet long, had been gouged into the land.

Brazel was struck by the unusual properties of the debris, and after dragging a large piece of it to a shed, he took some of it over to show the Proctors in 1947. Mrs. Proctor moved from the ranch into a home nearer to town, but she remembers Mack showing up with strange material.

The Proctors told Brazel that he might be holding wreckage from a UFO or a government project, and that he should report the incident to the sheriff. A day or two later, Mack drove into Roswell where he reported the incident to Sheriff George Wilcox, who reported it to Intelligence Officer, Major Jesse Marcel of the 509 Bomb Group, and for days thereafter, the debris site was closed while the wreckage was cleared.

On July 8, 1947, the Public Information Office at Roswell AAB issued a press release stating that wreckage from a crashed disk was recovered. Hours later, the press release was rescinded and a new one released stating that the a weather balloon was mistakenly identified as wreckage of a flying saucer.

Meanwhile, back in Roswell, Glenn Dennis, a young mortician working at the Ballard Funeral Home, received some curious calls one afternoon from the morgue at the air field. It seems the Mortuary Officer needed to get a hold of some small hermetically sealed coffins,and wanted information about how to preserve bodies that had been exposed to the elements for a few days, without contaminating the tissue.

Dennis drove out to the base hospital later that evening where he saw large pieces of wreckage with strange engravings on one of the pieces sticking out of the back of a military ambulance. Upon entering the hospital he started to visit with a nurse he knew, when suddenly he was threatened by military police and forced to leave.

The next day, Dennis met with the nurse. She told him about the bodies and drew pictures of them on a prescription pad. Within a few days she was transferred to England, her whereabouts remain unknown.

According to the research of Don Schmitt and Kevin Randle, in their book, A History of UFO Crashes, from which the following account of the Roswell Incident , in part, is based, the military had been watching an unidentified flying object on radar for four days in southern New Mexico. On the night of July 4, 1947, radar indicated that the object was down around thirty to forty miles northwest of Roswell.

Eye witness William Woody, who lived east of Roswell, remembered being outside with his father the night of July 4, 1947, when he saw a brilliant object plunge to the ground. A couple of days later when Woody and his father tried to locate the area of the crash, they were stopped by military personnel, who had cordoned off the area.

dead alien in roswell

Dead Alien, from a movie set, UFO Museum, photo
© 2008-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

Once military personnel got into the mix, things began to get muddled. Late one night shortly after the debris was found, a military representative drove off with a load of the stuff and apparently decided to stop by his home and show the family what he had. I can picture that happening. Just imagine how excited you’d be if you were driving around with a spaceship rim and fender in your car. Heck, I’d drop in on my sleeping kids and rouse them out of bed to see the alien goodies.

In 1990, the son of that military officer underwent hypnosis, in which he recalled being awakened by his father and looking at the debris on the kitchen floor. He described the materials, “Purple. Strange. … Different geometric shapes, leaves and circles.” He also said while under hypnosis that his father told him the materials came from a flying saucer. “I ask him what a flying saucer is. I don’t know what a flying saucer is…It’s a ship. [Dad’s] excited!”

Roswell 9

The Crash, painting in the UFO Museum, photo
© 2008-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

A press release to the radio and newspapers was picked up by the AP Wire on or around July 7, with these words, “The Army Air Forces here today announced a flying disk had been found.” However, the release was later rescinded.

Evidence of the crash wound deeper into the federal government, until finally it disappeared for good. By July 9 the story was changed. According to the UFO Museum website, “The military tried to convince the news media from that day forward that the object found near Roswell was nothing more than a weather balloon.” Brazel, the rancher who originally found the debris, began acting strange. He changed his version of events to corroborate the cover story, claiming to have found weather observation devices. Several newspapers carried this AP lead: “Reports of flying saucers whizzing through the sky fell off sharply today as the army and the navy began a concentrated campaign to stop the rumors.”

drunken aliens in roswell alien balloons

Drunken Aliens and Happy Aliens in storefront windows on Main
Street, photos © 2008-2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

The City of Roswell celebrates its most famous incident every year with a UFO Festival during the first week of July. I think it’s safe to say that not only is this an international event, it may in fact be a galactic one. I suppose some could say that there was no other path than to keep this story alive, or rather, to make it into the past, present, and future of the place. But no matter — weather balloon or flying saucer — by now Roswell has a corner on little green men with pointy ears.

Links about The Roswell Incident

  • Roswell UFO Museum’s The Roswell Incident: for information supporting the story above about what happened in July 1947
  • The Roswell Files: for a different perspective on what happened that week in Roswell

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It’s warm outside, the kind of day I can imagine getting into a car, our bags packed in the back, and setting out on the road. A bit of a breeze in the air, wind is never fun when you’re driving the highway, but the temperature’s just right.

Jim and I get into air-conditioner fights on the road. He’ll turn the fan on high, and I’ll point all my vents toward him, close the one on the far right, so that even he gets chilled enough to turn the thing down. I can withstand heat in a car, will in the winter sometimes sit in the driveway listening to the radio and absorbing the sun trapped inside.

Last road trip we went on was to Carlsbad, Thanksgiving weekend. We stopped at the UFO Museum in Roswell, walked up and down Main Street, pointed out all the big-headed, big-eyed creatures that adorned almost every storefront, except for the Mexican panadería where we bought pan dulce for the last leg of the trip.

At the bottom of the road winding up to Carlsbad Caverns National Monument, there’s the completely abandoned White City. That was once one giant Roadside Attraction, an Old West movie-set-looking place. It had a saloon made of wooden slats, complete with swinging doors, and a series of white adobe casitas, which is where workers used to live.

White City went on the market last July, I think, and I’m trying to remember if we found out who’d bought the place or whether it was still for sale. It must have been a popular destination decades ago, or so the series of weathered billboards on the highway wanted you to believe. Best food around! Cheap gifts!

I can’t imagine anything thriving there now, especially not a junky souvenir shop. Seems the gift shop and restaurant at the National Monument visitor center satisfy most tourist needs, and once you finish winding through those gentle Guadalupe Mountains and finally hit the bland highway back to Carlsbad, you’re kind of happy to be back in the privacy of your own car.

On the drive back to Albuquerque Jim noticed a piece of art, if you can call it that, parked on the shoulder of the road outside Artesia. There was an old RV, on its roof a male mannequin, falling head over heels as he helped a female mannequin up the RV’s metal ladder. We pulled over, snapped a shot, then sped away before the owners of the house came out to see what we were up to.

It seems people still get into the act of entertaining road weary travelers. Some don’t even try to make a dime from it, although I think the main reason Dad never stopped at Roadside Attractions was because we’d all end up wanting to buy something like tumbled rocks in a little fake suede pouch or Mexican jumping beans. I don’t think we ever stopped at the teepees outside of Holbrook, Arizona, the old Wigwam Motel. They had rattlesnake eggs, you can still turn ’round and see ’em, I remember passing the last sign and feeling like we’d lost our chance forever.

We did stop at Stuckey’s, got a box of peanut brittle with the purchase of a tank of gas. My whole family loved peanut brittle. It was long gone by the time we got to California.


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