Monday, 14 March 2011

An Introduction to the Roswell UFO Crash

The Roswell Incident is, without doubt, the most famous UFO incident in the world. It is also the most controversial. Even among those who believe that alien spacecraft are visiting Earth, opinions are divided over what happened at Roswell.

Some hold firmly to the conclusion that an alien spaceship crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in early July 1947. The wreckage and the remains of the dead crew were recovered under conditions of the tightest security by men of the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) and taken to the nearby Roswell Army Air Force base. From there they were transported to the top security research facility at Wright Air Field in Ohio for study. The experiments carried out at Wright Air Field have been responsible for producing all manner of modern high-tech products, including fibre-optics, the integrated circuit chip, lasers and a host of other objects.

Others believe that nothing very exciting happened at all. A weather balloon came down in the desert, got snagged on some scrub and was found by a ranch hand. An unfortunate series of misunderstandings then followed that created the illusion of a mystery where none existed. Thereafter, the event has been exploited by charlatans, fools and innocents to create an entirely false image of what was, in reality, an utterly dull event.

Within both camps there are divergent opinions and firmly held views. Indeed, one of the key distinguishing features of the Roswell Incident - unlike most other UFO-related events - is the sheer complexity of opinion and the dogmatic way in which those opinions are held. At times those studying the incident have been reduced to fairly unpleasant name calling when talking of each other. One researcher has accused another of lying, witnesses have been accused of being charlatans out to make a quick buck by inventing a far-fetched story, and even respected academics have been denounced as being either gullible or unwilling to accept evidence.

In large part all is a result of the nature of the evidence relating to the Roswell Incident. Unlike most UFO events that are generally discussed, there was no real research carried out at the time of the Roswell Incident by people interested in UFOs and keen to record as much detail as possible. Instead, evidence falls into four categories:

1) Contemporary written evidence published at the time. As we shall see this largely takes the form of newspaper articles, mostly in local or regional newspapers, though there were also a few references to events at Roswell in other publications at the time.

2) Contemporary written evidence that was not published at the time but which has been published since. This mostly takes the form of USAAF documentation relating to Roswell Army Air Force Base, the personnel stationed there and events that took place there. A smaller quantity relates to FBI, police and other government agencies. At the time this mass of data was routinely kept secret, as most military documentation still is, but with the passing of time it has been declassified and made available to the public through the Freedom of Information legislation.

3) Contemporary written evidence that was not published at the time and which has still not been published. It is well known that much of the USAAF documentation relating to Roswell for the year 1947 has never seen the light of day. The reasons for this are varied. A large amount of it was destroyed at a time when it was thought to be no longer of any interest. Data pertaining to such mundane daily matters as the cookhouse food stores, for instance, are routinely incinerated by the military. Other documentation is known still to exist, but has not been released. Some of this is now available in second-hand and edited form as it features in official reports compiled by personnel who have had access to the original documents. Other documents remain completely secret. By their very nature, these documents represent a great unknown quantity. It is uncertain how many documents remain under wraps, still more vague is what they record.

4) The final and most prolific form of evidence is eyewitness testimony recorded some years after the Roswell Incident itself. Most of this testimony was recorded by UFO researchers during the 1980s and 1990s, though some evidence continues to turn up even today. Much of this evidence is first hand, but a fair amount of it is second hand. The quantity of this evidence  is not in dispute, but the quality is. The human memory can play strange tricks as the years pass. Even a competent witness who is honestly doing his or her best to recall events accurately can make mistakes after an interval of 30 or 40 years - as most of those giving evidence about Roswell were doing. Of course, not all witnesses to events are as good as researchers would hope. Some may be tempted to exaggerate their claims to gain fame or to be able to charge a fee for giving interviews. It should come as no surprise that some witnesses to the events at Roswell contradict each other. This does not mean, however, that everything they say is misremembered or invented. Some of the statements may be false, some confused but some will be true and accurate.

This book sets out to find the truth behind the confusion that exists over the Roswell Incident. It does not take as its starting point any particular belief. There is no attempt to convince the reader that an alien spacecraft crashed at Roswell, nor that all the witness statements are untrustworthy. Instead it sets out to present the evidence for events in an impartial way and then allow the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.

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