Mysteries, Oddities, and Everything Strange: Roswell UFO Crash

Bridget Vaughan, Staff Writer

Roswell UFO Crash: Aliens…Again!

Aliens are pretty cool if I do say so myself. The possibility that there is other advanced life with entirely separate cultures and customs from humanity is worth thinking about for extended periods of time. Many have done exactly the same, pondering the possibility of preternatural persons perusing our portion of the observable universe for years upon years. One event, occurring over 75 years ago, has prompted such thought ever since it occurred. But the Roswell UFO Crash has plenty of mystery surrounding government cover-ups and supernatural elements that definitely makes it worth investigating. So, what is it?

The Roswell UFO Crash occurred in Roswell, New Mexico in the summer of 1947. The Cold War had just begun and paranoia was at an all-time high, especially regarding aerial conflict and the potential of attack from above. The competition between the two nations was fierce and the United States was desperate to do anything in order to intimidate the Soviet Union into backing off. On June 14, a rancher by the name of W. W. Brazel and his son located a strange wreckage on his property while driving through it. His land was located in Lincoln County, a fair distance from Roswell, but Brazel brought it to the major location due to his suspicions. The rubble was strewn about the New Mexico desert and appeared to be tattered, as if it had remained in the sun for a sizable amount of time. After countless national headlines of alien-like sightings throughout the year, Brazel was sure the rubber and tin foil were a hallmark of their technology and immediately reported to George Wilcox, Roswell’s sheriff.

Earlier that summer, a man named Kenneth Arnold had discovered what was supposedly a flying saucer while soaring around Mount Rainier in Washington, causing a national phenomenon. Sightings poured in from around the country as average citizens were desperate to discover the missing puzzle piece in an extraterrestrial investigation and gain fame from doing so. It is entirely possible Brazel could have been doing just that, but the multi-faceted nature of the discovery could prove this notion false. Regardless, the strange nature of the object did create suspicion. Seven days after Brazel’s discovery, a man named Harold Dahl was observing the sky around Maury Island near Washington and found six different flying objects. After returning home the next day, he was interrogated by strange men in suits that he referred to as the “men in black”. Whether these people were paranoid, persistent, or telling the full truth might never be known.

Sheriff Wilcox was appalled by the discovery and contacted the leader of the town’s local airfield, Colonel William Blanchard, to join the investigation. The local newspaper published a story about the event after the Roswell Army Air Field (or RAAF) claimed they had discovered a “flying disc” of unknown origins. The RAAF did not want to cause mass hysteria and immediately retracted their previous statement, claiming the object was debris from a weather balloon sent astray. The story was not debunked until almost 50 years later, when the RAAF admitted in 1994 that they fabricated the tale. Instead, they described a secret project using balloons to spy on the Soviet Union known as Project Mogul. 

This explanation did not appease many alien hunters and extraterrestrial enthusiasts. The co-founder of Roswell’s International UFO Museum and Research Center, Donald Schmitt, claims that they denied the initial claims because it would draw attention to a military base and center for top secret operations. Roswell was the center for fledgling nuclear research and would not be a good location for theorists and mystery hunters to be flocking towards in case of an accident or information leak. Others attributed the materials to Joseph Stalin or Nazi scientist Josef Mengele in an act of desperation to strike terror into America. 

Despite the theorizing, many agree that the government’s most recent explanation for the event was likely the correct one. Roger Launius was a historian and expert on space history through his position at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. He says that the act of sharing secret information with the national public was an act only done out of desperation and a wish to clear the air. After all, the government wouldn’t lie, would they? 

The Roswell UFO Crash was one of the biggest events in extraterrestrial investigation in the United States, and its mysteries were never truly solved. A level of government delusion following World War II and national mania surrounding unidentified foreign objects caused mass confusion at the time of the incident and put a pin in an event that has a number of different possible explanations. Regardless, the massive size of the universe leaves the possibility of other life forms up in the air. We might never know whether aliens were actually attempting to make contact with the planet and abandoning their wreckage at the scene, but we can theorize to our heart’s content.