Monday, September 9, 2013

So What Really Happened at Roswell on July 7 1947?

Over 60 years ago, something fell out of the sky and crashed on a sheep ranch near Roswell, New Mexico.  But was it a UFO manned by aliens?  Or was it just a weather balloon?
Lt. Walter Haut, a bombardier navigator stationed at Roswell Army Air Field and acting as PR officer wrote the first report about the incident, describing a "saucer" made of some sort of unknown metal.  The next day, General Roger Ramey pooh-poohed this version and told the media the saucer was really only a weather balloon.  But according to W. Glenn Dennis (who was working at the Ballard Funeral Home in Roswell) members of the military had been asking around trying to find youth-sized caskets.  And a friend who worked at the base hospital said he'd seen doctors examining something that was alive, but not human.
The military closed ranks, as only the military can.  For over 30 years, nothing more was heard about the matter.  But in 1980, "The Roswell Incident" by Charles Berlitz and William Moore appeared and the world has been fascinated ever since.
There was so much interest in Roswell and what did -- or did not -- happen there that Haut and Dennis had the idea of establishing a UFO Museum, which opened in 1991 and logged its one-millionth visitor ten years later.  About 150,000 people visit the UFO Museum every month, which is impressive, as Roswell isn't exactly on the beaten track.
The UFO Museum's exhibits include extensive information -- including statements from witnesses, copies of original newspaper reports, a radio announcement and documentation describing the subsequent cover-up -- as well as fascinating material about crop circles and alien abductions. There's also some "fun" stuff, like the flying saucer and animatronic aliens that flash blue lights and belch smoke every hour or so.  And sets from the Showtime Movie, "Roswell".  My personal favorite was the cartoon wall, featuring dozens of cartoons concerning Roswell.  One of them depicts a General asking another General, So why have we kept a weather balloon on a life support system for the past 60 years?
The evidence is pretty overwhelming.  There was a cover-up.  But why?  We're presented with a whole list of reasons.  The government was afraid there would be a panic.  The government was afraid it was all a Russian plot.  The government didn't want to offend people who believed in God.  None of these reasons are very convincing.  So what really happened?  We still don't know.  But as they say, The truth is out there.
Whether or not you believe in UFOs and alien abductions, the UFO Museum at Roswell is definitely worth a visit, even if it involves going miles out of your way.  It is fascinating, and it is fun. There is also an annual UFO Festival, held early in July.  That sounds like fun, too.  And there's quite a good selection of motels (most of them dog friendly) and restaurants in Roswell if you decide to stay over, which we did.
Xingxing toured the Museum in his stroller, and was unimpressed -- probably because there weren't any dogs involved.  If he could have asked a question it would probably have been something like, Why didn't they bring their dogs along with them?  But he cheered up enormously when we reached the gift shop and he was presented with a little green stuffed alien, which he chewed on happily as Christopher and I shopped for souvenirs.

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