What a Tangled Web
July 8, 1947: Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) issues a press release. Something had crashed near a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico. The US Army Air Forces were conducting top secret tests and were not able to give out totally accurate information lest they give away their secret Project Mogul. They were testing microphones attached to high altitude balloons. The purpose was to detect sound waves which were generated by Soviet atomic bomb tests. The project began in 1947 and ended in 1949 when a network of seismic detectors and air sampling techniques came into use. They were both easier to deploy and operate and were substantially cheaper.
Public information officer Walter Haut issued a press release from RAAF on this date. It was said that people from the field’s 509’s Operations Group had recovered a “flying disc” which had crashed. They did not want to have to say that it was a nuclear test monitoring device. Later in the day, Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force Roger Ramey said it was a weather balloon. Also supplied were debris from the wreckage – foil, rubber, and wood – consistent with the weather balloon description. The story died the next day and the government felt they had successfully hidden Project Mogul and could still monitor Soviet nuclear testing. The event faded from memory – for about 30 years.
Between 1978 and the early 1990s may UFO researchers looked into the crash near Roswell. Many interviews were held with those who claimed to have been witness to or somehow connected to the events which took place in 1947. Hundreds of documents were released under the Freedom of Information Act. Leaks came forth from the mysterious Majestic 12. The UFO experts came to the conclusion that an alien ship and not a weather balloon had crashed in New Mexico. As more claims came to the media’s attention, the interest of the average American increased. By the mid-1990s, the majority of Americans believed an alien ship had landed at Roswell and the government was keeping it a secret.
UFO interest began in 1978 when nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman interviewed Jesse Marcel, the only person known to have accompanied the recovered material from the crash site to Fort Worth. This renewed interest in the case and the first conspiracy book came out in 1980. Charles Berlitz and William Moore released The Roswell Incident which was their third conspiracy book. More books followed and as Americans became more concerned about a cover-up, the General Accounting Office launched an inquiry. The debris was found to be part of Project Mogul. The idea of recovered alien bodies was laid at the feet of psychology and the innocently transformed memories of anthropomorphic dummies used for things like Operation High Dive. UFO proponents fail to believe the government’s claims and remain convinced of alien visitation.
We have no proof, But if we extrapolate, based on the best information we have available to us, we have to come to the conclusion that … other life probably exists out there and perhaps in many places. – Neil Armstrong
Statistically it’s a certainty there are hugely advanced civilizations, intelligences, life forms out there. I believe they’re so advanced they’re even doing interstellar travel. I believe it’s possible they even came here. – Astronaut Storey Musgrove
Unknown objects are operating under intelligent control… It is imperative that we learn where UFO’s come from and what their purpose is. – Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter Director, Central Intelligence Agency 1947-1950
We all know UFOs are real. All we need to ask is where are they from. – Dr. Edgar Mitchell
Also on this day: The Wall Street Journal – In 1889, The Wall Street Journal began publication.
Con Man – In 1898, Soapy Smith was gunned down.
Bear Market – In 1932, the markets hit their lowest point during the Great Depression.
Our Lady of Kazan – In 1579, an iconic painting was discovered.
The End – In 2011, the Space Shuttle program was retired.