In Search of...UFOs
By Tom Seligson
For those who believe in aliens and flying saucers, Roswell, New Mexico is like Mecca. It was here, in 1947, that a mysterious object crashed in the desert just outside of town. The Government claimed it was simply a weather balloon, but local residents told a far more intriguing tale. They described a debris field the size of a football stadium, of strange materials unlike anything else on earth, and the most stunning revelation of all: that three bodies -- human in shape, but only three feet tall -- were pulled from the wreckage and secretly examined by military doctors before being taken away.
The mystery of what really happened in Roswell 64 years ago has been hotly debated ever since. A recently unearthed FBI memo about a separate alleged UFO crash in New Mexico (in Aztec), has added to the controversy. The memo from 1950, which describes several alien-manned UFOs, convinces true believers that the government has been covering up both these alleged historic visits from outer space. Skeptics insist the document and the entire Roswell incident is a hoax.
What is not in question is the impact this undying controversy has had on Roswell itself. This town of 45,000, literally in the middle of nowhere, continues to attract visitors from all over the world. They come in search of answers to this lingering mystery, to investigate additional signs of alien visitation, to meet other true believers like themselves, and mostly, as the International UFO Museum in Roswell says in its motto, because “the truth is here.”
The International UFO Museum offers exhibits, not only about the 1947 incident, but on crop circles, UFO sightings, Area 51, ancient astronauts and alien abductions. It’s a sign of the public’s fascination with all things extraterrestrial, that the museum attracts 150,000 – 170,000 visitors a year.
The best time to visit Roswell is the first week of July for the town’s annual UFO Festival. More than 15,000 tourists come to hear lectures by UFO researchers and to enjoy contests, fireworks, and a parade, all of which are designed to show both fellow earthlings and visitors from outer space, just how much fun life can be here on planet earth.
Photo Credits: UFO Museum sign by New Mexico Tourism Department/Mike Stauffer