Contemporary Myth In North America
Roswell MythIntroduction Myths are stories that are used to explain a belief or experience. Myths also present a particular point of view of a situation or event. In North America there are many myths that influence society and shape the world as society knows it. American society has been exposed to different myths and legends due to the diversity of the population. One of the more famous myths in North America surrounds an event that occurred in Roswell New Mexico. The myth involves debris recovered from a crash that occurred on a ranch near the Roswell Army Air Field. The debris found is said to be from an unidentified flying object or UFO. UFOs are usually considered to be extraterrestrial spacecrafts from beings not of this world. The Roswell crash site is believed to have involved one of these spacecrafts. The events in Roswell allowed a new myth to be created. Newspaper accounts along with military releases have helped fuel this American myth. To this very day the myth is heavily discussed and researched. This myth has become the most publicized UFO case of all time. This paper will look at the myth and discuss the impact the myth has on me and on society. On July 8, 1947, a press release was issued by the Roswell Army Air Field stating that they had recovered a crashed "flying disc" from a ranch near Roswell. This press release sparked media interest and articles were published regarding the event of a crashed flying saucer. Later that day the Eighth Air Force corrected this information and stated it had been a weather balloon that had been recovered. The press conferences held after the crash featured debris from the crash which supported the weather balloon description. This event was forgotten and there seemed not to be much interest in the crash area until 1978 when UFO researcher Stanton T. Friedman interviewed Major Jesse Marcel. Major Marcel was involved in the original recovery of the debris at Roswell. Major Marcel told Friedman that he believed the military had covered up the recovery of an alien spacecraft. (Wikipedia, 2006) This story fueled the speculation that more happened at Roswell than people were being told. As this story came out more witness came forward. As witness came forward more research was done and books were published leading this story to evolve and change over the years. One of these particular changes involved pictures of debris from the crash site. Claims have been made that wreckage was switched in General Ramey's office, leading people to believe even more in a massive government cover-up. (SMU Department of Physics, 2006) This is important because it establishes mistrust in the "official" story given by the government which helps fuel the myth. The new witnesses that came forward with accounts of the crash, and the books published regarding this event have provided the public with an arsenal of information that keeps propagating the myth. This myth has brought attention to the possibility that people on Earth are not alone in the universe. Those who believe in this myth believe that they are not the only intelligent life in the universe. Some believe Earth's issues are too big for the planet and that society needs guidance from a higher power. The events at Roswell have effected society and allowed them to question if the people of Earth are indeed alone in the universe. This myth has sparked curiosity in what lies beyond the physical boundaries of our planet. Economically, the Roswell incident has benefited the small town of Roswell. Business leaders have taken advantage of the publicity and interest and have turned the town into a tourist destination. This event and the stories surrounding it have provided money to Roswell's economy that would not have been there otherwise. (Wikipedia, 2006) As for society, the Roswell incident has given life to researching our universe and exploring what could possibly be out there. This incident allows society to ask what if there is life on other planets and inspires exploration. This event also has inspired the technology needed for this exploration. Radio waves are monitored for signals of life from other star systems and the Hubble telescope allows society to glimpse at the universe of long ago. The Roswell myth is a myth that sparks the interest of society and feeds off of societies need to believe that they are not alone in the universe. The distrust that occurs in this myth is important as it allows society to question the actions of their government and look beyond what is told, in hope to uncover truths surrounding the myth. Inspiration created by this myth gives society the ability to explore beyond the comfortable boundaries of Earth and gives them permission to ask "what if".