Posts Tagged ‘conspiracy’

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Wendi Friend

America 1949: The first Emmy Awards take place, the country experiences its first television sitcom, George Orwell’s book 1984 takes the literary market by storm, Death of a Salesman hits the big screen, Frankie Laine and Bing Crosby top the music charts, the Civil Rights movement gains momentum, a US Air force crew completes the first round-the-world non-stop flight in a plane, NATO is formed, the first stored-program computer begins operation at Cambridge University, and the Cold War becomes a serious issue. We’re twenty years away from landing on the moon (assuming that really happened!) – and, oh, yeah… there’s an alleged UFO crash, involving eye-witness reports of alien bodies and a supposed government cover-up near Roswell, New Mexico. A conspiracy theory is born that will permeate the remainder of the millennium, stretching itself into the twenty-first century, dubbed The Roswell Incident.

Visit Roswell, New Mexico today and you’ll find yourself transported to a scene straight out of science fiction. The small town, once nothing more than a little known speck on a map, is now cashing in on the conspiracy, raking in an estimated $5 million per year on alien paraphernalia and propaganda. Even the fast-food chains promote alien-friendly environments. While there, you can visit an alien museum, scope out the scene of an alien autopsy, shop for alien souvenirs, or even have your photo taken with one of the little extra terrestrials – well, a replica, anyway. While the whole town is steeped in alien experience, the interesting thing to note is that the original “crash-landing” that inspired the boom didn’t even take place in Roswell, but about 75 miles away in another small town: Carona, New Mexico. Nonetheless, Roswell has staked its claim to fame and has put itself on the map as perhaps the most famous UFO site around the world.

Naturally, time has tainted the story, and hard facts are few and far between. However, the gist of it is that a Rancher by the name of William “Mac” Brazel discovered mysterious, allegedly unidentifiable wreckage somewhere between the end of June and the beginning of July of 1949. Shortly after, press releases went out with the words “flying disc”, and the military coughed up an explanation, calling the debris a weather balloon. That claim didn’t go over too smoothly.

Other witnesses made statements, and then retracted them, and the military changed its explanation once or twice as well. Some witness reports claim people saw alien bodies being carted away in body bags by the United States military. The military offered a come back by way of crash dummies being dropped from airplanes during top secret military tests. What was being carted off in body bags was claimed by military personnel to be these crash dummies, not aliens. Of course, that begs the question: Why would crash dummies be toted off in body bags? But, as with so many other questions spawned by the Roswell Incident, this one has no clearly defined answer.

Unexplained debris, conflicting stories, military involvement… bada boom, bada bing, it’s a conspiracy. Not really, though. The true conspiracy theory and popular propaganda about The Roswell Incident didn’t really take off until 1980, more than thirty years after the event, which awakened the sleeping tales and spawned UFOlogy interest. Other popular media outlets of the late seventies and early eighties helped build the momentum with popular Martian movies, sci-fi television programming, and literature.

In time, the military did come clean and admit that there were cover up attempts made at the site discovered by the rancher, however, they claimed that what was being covered up was not an alien craft, but a top secret military experiment having to do with the Cold War. Of course, once admittance of a cover up was offered, all theories were fair game, and dozens of books and articles were published promoting both sides of the story and fuelling the fires of conspiracy theories.

Whether or not alien beings crash landed on earth near Roswell, New Mexico in 1949 will likely never be a solved mystery. Too many theories have been launched, and sixty years have passed. Assuming the youngest “reliable” witness was around the age of 12, we can safely figure that most people involved in the original Roswell Incident are over the age of seventy, or in many cases, deceased. What’s curious, though, is that UFO sightings and alleged crash sites have popped up world wide for decades. What makes this one so popular and enduring?

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