Mysteries solved, secrets revealed, and questions finally answered.
- Air & Space magazine, September 2010
U.S. Air Force photo
(Page 2 of 4)
Roswell: A Hotbed of Conspiracy Theories
Which incident of the 20th century is responsible for more analysis, rehashings, and conspiracy theories: the Kennedy assassination or the Roswell incident? Each left in its wake copious details that are difficult to interpret. Decades later, amateur scholars pore over them with a level of attention that is almost molecular.
On June 14, 1947, rancher Mac Brazel found scraps of rubber, paper, tin foil, and sticks in a field north of Roswell, New Mexico. On July 8, the Roswell Army Air Field issued a press release announcing that military personnel had discovered the remains of a “flying disc.” But later that day: Recall. The debris hadn’t come from a flying saucer, said Eighth Air Force Commanding General Roger Ramey, but from a weather balloon. It wasn’t enough. Over the decades, the story grew to include aliens in the saucer, secret autopsies of the aliens, autopsy witnesses disappearing....
In 1994, Congressman Steven Schiff of New Mexico, after repeated inquiries from his constituents, commissioned a General Accounting Office study to try to hash it all out. The conclusion: The culprit was Project Mogul, a then-secret program in which balloons sent up to 40,000 feet used sonobuoys to listen for evidence of Soviet nuclear tests. The explanation got a boost in 1997 from the book UFO Crash at Roswell: Genesis of a Modern Myth (Smithsonian Institution Press); in it, Mogul scientist Charles Moore lays out detailed weather data he says shows how one balloon could have left the debris.
The Mogul explanation isn’t universally satisfying. Saucerologist David Rudiak claims Moore cooked his meteorology. (Moore, who died in March, would not debate Rudiak’s challenges.) Rudiak also examined a photograph of General Ramey taken the day he issued his saucer denial: Ramey holds a piece of paper, and Rudiak, having blown the picture up, insists the paper bears the words “victims of the wreck.” The GAO counters that a “national level organization” examining the photo found nothing of the kind, and that Roswell is, and always has been, a saucer-free zone.