Roswell: Unmasking the Truth Behind the Most Famous UFO Incident

Few places anywhere in the world can be as synonymous with alien visitation as Roswell, New Mexico. Since 1947, with the discovery of mysterious debris at a local farm, allegedly from an unidentified aircraft, the notions of extraterrestrial life on Earth and government cover-up have been inseparable from the city itself. While talks about flying saucers and little green humanoid creatures are always as interesting as ever, the truth behind history’s most famous rumored UFO crash is no less fascinating either.


The story began on June 14, 1947, when a local rancher named W.W. “Mac” Brazel and his son Vernon drove across their ranch land – about 80 miles northwest of Roswell – and bumped into what presumably was the strangest sight they had ever encountered. Brazel said they found quite a sizable area of bright debris comprising tinfoil, sticks, thick paper, and rubber strips. There was also a metallic lightweight fabric scattered on the sagebrush and gravel in the desert. Not knowing what the items were, where they came from, and how to deal with them, Brazel collected all the wreckage he could recover from the area on July 7 and delivered everything to Sheriff George Wilcox, who found himself just as bewildered.

Unable to determine any conclusion regarding the discovery, Wilcox inquired with Colonel Blanchard, the commander of the Roswell Army Airfield’s 509th Composite Group. A military intelligence officer named Major Jesse Marcel was ordered to investigate the matter more thoroughly and collect any remaining debris from the site. It was the same thing all over again as the Colonel didn’t know what to make of the wreckage. That said, there was no way Blanchard failed to notice the peculiarity presented before him.

Some of the wreckage had strange hieroglyph symbols from a language he didn’t recognize. The wooden pieces were all jagged, and the scraps were made from reflective material. More importantly, none of the wreckage seemed to be from any aircraft he could identify. Blanchard worked his way up the chain of command and eventually communicated with General Roger W. Ramey, the commander of the 8th Air Force in Texas.

It wasn’t a month earlier when Navy Seaman Harold Dahl claimed to have encountered six unidentified aircraft flying near Maury Island in Puget Sound, Washington State. He became the authority’s person of interest and was debriefed the next morning on June 22. Just a few days later, businessman and private pilot Kenneth Arnold reported he had seen nine unidentified flying objects in the sky of Mount Rainier.

Had there been no previous reports of UFO sightings, the Roswell incident could have been easily dismissed as an experimental aircraft accident and an isolated one as well. However, it was against this backdrop of the rumored presence of alien spaceships that the debris in Roswell was discovered and sent to the military; a better explanation was therefore in order.

A Story Easier to Swallow

On July 8, the local afternoon newspaper “Roswell Daily Record” ran a story stating that the intelligent office of the 509th Bombardment Group at the RAAF was in possession of a flying saucer. Unproven rumor about UFOs and crashed alien spacecraft worked in favor of the military’s perspective. It was probably a strange case in which the conspiracy is the cover-up story.


The world had just gone through World War II. It was a time when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were still fresh in memory, the Soviet Union engaged in post-war campaign to claim a chunk of eastern Europe, and VOA began broadcasting in Russian to showcase the promise of democracy. The “Doomsday Clock” was in place and the United States sent rockets to space and crafted the Marshal Plan to rebuild war-torn Europe. With the global political landscape in jeopardy, telling the truth was not a priority.

With the Roswell incident, the rage surrounding flying saucer was an easier story to swallow than telling the public about Project Mogul. UFOs of extraterrestrial origin seemed more palatable in comparison with disclosing a top-secret military spy program that involved flying microphones on high-altitude balloons intended for long-distance sound wave detection. The idea behind Project Mogul was to identify sound waves generated by Soviet nuclear weapon tests.

The strangest part about Roswell incident took shape in the government’s inconsistent statements from claiming to possess of a spacecraft debris on July 8 to saying that the wreckage was from weather balloon the next day. Weather balloon might not be the answer to all the mysteries and perhaps a lame explanation about an exciting discovery, but it was the story the government expected to end all speculations and close the case for good, at least officially. Even the revelation about Project Mogul in 1994 – nearly 50 years after the incident – did little to stop a long series of conspiracy theories surrounding the incident. In fact, many ufologists still see the project as part of a bigger cover-up.

Do you believe Roswell is a place where the government conducts experiment on aliens? Can you name any other place in the United States famous for UFO encounters? We’d love to hear from you.

We think all the formal investigations, debunking efforts, and official reports produced by the U.S. governments were mostly for nothing. By the time the authorities came out with any of their “plausible” explanations, the world had already believed that UFO of extraterrestrial origin, presumably a crewed spacecraft, crash landed in Roswell, New Mexico. Thanks to the incident, nationwide coverage, and the confusion that followed, the city has since been known as alien visitation hotbed and the center of government cover-ups regarding the matter.

Other things you might want to know:

What is Area 51?

Located about 83 miles north of Las Vegas, the place known as Area 51 is an off-limits aircraft development and engineering facility inside the Nevada Test Site. Supposedly, the aliens from Roswell incident and spacecrafts recovered from crash sites all over the country (and beyond) are still preserved in the facility for further research, including for reverse-engineering purpose.

Are all UFOs extraterrestrials?

The term “UFO” is pretty self-explanatory as it simply refers to a flying object that cannot be identified. The object can be terrestrial or otherwise. Just because something cannot be easily identified, it doesn’t always have to be alien-related.

What is the Majestic 12?

In December 1984, a ufologist named Jaime Shandera of North Hollywood, California, found a package with no return address in his mail. Inside the package was a roll of 35mm film, containing eight pages that resembled a briefing paper dated November 18, 1952. One of the most important bits in the paper was an executive order by President Harry Truman to authorize the creation of a secret group called “Majestic 12” for the purpose of investigating bodies of four humanoid recovered from a July 1947 spaceship crash. The FBI concluded that the document was fake.

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