Through the 75 years since something—something– crashed near Roswell in early July 1947, the name itself took on a life of its own: today it is shorthand for UFOs, aliens and a vast government conspiracy, perhaps even where the very idea of the deep state itself was born. . The town of 50,000 in southeastern New Mexico, about three hours from Albuquerque and El Paso, has addressed its infamy: There’s a UFO museum, a walk in space and even a McDonald’s in the shape of a flying saucer, not to mention a number of kitsch shops. souvenir stands.
However, unraveling what exactly happened there required a half-century journey through secret government programs, the Cold War, nuclear secrets and the rise of conspiracy theories in the American politics. We know that something crashed in Roswell in late June or early July 1947, just weeks after the flying saucer era began. The modern era of UFOs began on June 24, 1947, when 32-year-old Idaho businessman Kenneth Arnold, an experienced rescue pilot with some 4,000 hours of high-altitude mountain flying, noticed a bright light through the window of a UFO. his CallAir A-2 propeller plane while flying near Mount Rainier in the Pacific Northwest.
At first, Arnold assumed it was simply a reflection from another plane, but then realized he was looking at up to nine objects, seemingly in formation and moving at a enormous speed through the air, extending for perhaps 5 miles. “I found no trace of these things,” Arnold later recalled. “They left no trace of a plane behind them. I estimated their size to be at least 100 feet wide. I thought it was a new type of missile. As the lights continued to move together “like the tail of a Chinese kite, sort of weaving together and going at tremendous speed,” he used the clock on his dashboard to time the time they needed to fly between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams. It was astonishing. According to the measurements, these objects, whatever they were, were moving between 1,200 and 1,700 miles per hour, far faster than anything known at the time. In total, Arnold observed the objects for about three minutes, during which time he even opened his plane’s window to make sure he didn’t see a reflection on his windshield.
When he landed, he told his friends at the airport about the strange sighting, and a day later he repeated the story to reporters at the airport. Eastern Oregonian. The first version of the article referred to the objects as “saucer-like planes,” and headlines across the country later shortened the label to “flying saucers.” The reports and interviews Arnold gave after landing sparked national interest and made headlines across the country. Week after week, dozens of additional “flying saucer” sightings were reported in what ultimately totaled more than 34 states.
It was in this context that some wrecks found outside of New Mexico were delivered and presented to the commander of Roswell Army Airfield. From the moment he saw it, Colonel William Blanchard knew something was wrong with the rubble spread out before him. The shredded pieces of wood and pieces of reflective material, hastily gathered at the crash site discovered a day earlier, did not come from any plane he could identify, and the strange symbols were not a language he recognized – they looked more like hieroglyphics. .
He had been found, he was told, by a local breeder named Mac Brazel. The local sheriff, guessing that it was a soldier, had sent Brazel to the nearest air base to report the discovery, and shortly after, two military intelligence officers, Major Jesse Marcel and another anonymous man whom Brazel would describe as being in civilian clothes, had traveled. returning with him to investigate, wandering the field and collecting the “rubber bands, aluminum foil, fairly strong paper, and sticks” before transferring them to the 509th Bombardment Wing headquarters.