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The Roswell UFO Incident: An Introduction

Updated on March 10, 2019
A Roswell newspaper from July 8, 1947
A Roswell newspaper from July 8, 1947

Why is Roswell, New Mexico Famous Among UFO Enthusiasts?

In 1947 an object from the sky crashed into Roswell, NM farmland. Some witnesses allege that the crash involved a flying saucer and its extraterrestrial passengers. At the time, the US government maintained that the crash involved a weather balloon, not an alien craft.

What does the evidence suggest? This article provides an introduction to the farmtown incident that's sparked worldwide intrigue.

Roswell UFO Crash - Radio Report, 1947

Fort Worth Army photo of men sorting through supposed Roswell crash debris
Fort Worth Army photo of men sorting through supposed Roswell crash debris

The Roswell UFO Incident Begins

In June of 1947 a Roswell rancher named Mac Brazel found strange debris while tending land north of town. Shortly thereafter he heard stories of "flying discs" being seen nearby. He made the connection and notified police officers of his find.

Two intelligence officers from Roswell Army Air Field then investigated Brazel's land. After they submitted their report, their commanding officer had the entire farm cordoned off! Soldiers removed the unidentified materials and sent them to Army headquarters in Fort Worth.

On July 8th the Roswell Army Air Field's public information officer Walter Haut issued a press release stating that Army personnel had recovered a crashed "flying disk." However, this report was contradicted the following day. Commanding General Roger M. Ramey announced to media that the crashed object was simply a weather balloon.

After Ramey's report, the Roswell incident lost its news appeal for several decades. It was ignored even by most UFO researchers until a key interview was made public in the 1970s.

No Trespassing signs at Area 51, the government property where alien remains are allegedly kept
No Trespassing signs at Area 51, the government property where alien remains are allegedly kept

The Groundbreaking Roswell Interview

In a statement to media in 1947, US Army Commanding General Roger M. Ramey dismissed the crashed vessel in Roswell as a radar-detecting weather balloon. Thirty years later, Major Jesse Marcel called his bluff.

In 1978 Major Jesse Marcel was interviewed by Stanton Friedman, a ufologist. (Yes, that's a word.) Marcel had helped recover the debris in 1947. In the Friedman interview, Marcel expressed his belief that the military was covering up an alien spacecraft.

Marcel's interview spread quickly among UFO enthusiasts and reached The National Enquirer by 1980. The Enquirer article, which included a second interview with Marcel, brought Roswell, NM into the national spotlight again.

The Air Force Investigation

Following the publication of Marcel's interview, other witnesses came forward. Some alleged earlier witness intimidation. Some claimed that the military was engaged in a more widespread operation to recover alien crafts. In 1989 a former mortician named Glenn Dennis claimed to have taken part in alien autopsies at Area 51, a military base in Nevada.

These claims prompted Congressional inquiries and an internal investigation by the Air Force. The investigators released two reports. Links to these reports are provided below.

  1. The first report was released in 1995. It concludes that the recovered material was likely from Project Mogul, a secret government program involving high altitude balloons. According to the report, these balloons were meant to detect sound waves generated by Soviet bomb tests and missiles.
  2. The second report was released in 1997. It attempts to dispel stories about recovered alien bodies. The report attributes these stories to hoaxes, faulty memories and confusion.

By the time the Roswell reports were released, most Americans had already made up their minds: Extraterrestrial beings crashed near Roswell, the Army recovered their craft and bodies, and there's a massive government cover-up.

What do you think? Here's a video about the Roswell crash and some links to help you start learning more about the incident.

Roswell, New Mexico Discussed on CNN


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    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Roswell did have a spaceship crash there in 1947. I have no doubt about that at all.

      The Governments of the world have continued to ridicule anyone who accepts that we are not alone in the Universe. We are only one planet among many that has life on it.

      Very interesting hub. Shared on Twitter. Voted awesome and interesting

    • sparkster profile image

      Marc Hubs 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      "Yes, Sparkster, this is my appearance as an earthling."

      Wow! Hi ;) lol

      Here are some links to the astronauts talking:

      Edgar Mitchell:

      Buzz Aldrin:

      Gordon Coooper:

      and although Neil Armstrongs confessions have more or less been covered up ever since and he now denies ever saying certain things, here are some useful videos:

    • SantaCruz profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      I'd like to hear the astronauts' words myself. Do you know of anything on tape?

      Yes, Sparkster, this is my appearance as an earthling.

    • sparkster profile image

      Marc Hubs 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Also, in response to David's comment many of the astronauts have spoken openly including Neil Armstrong, Edgar Mitchell, Buzz Aldrin and Gordon Cooper.

      Is that your real photo you've got on your profile?

    • SantaCruz profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      Thanks for the references, Sparkster! As I commented earlier, a person can peruse lots of info before finding legitimate Roswell sources. Will check out your hubs :).

    • sparkster profile image

      Marc Hubs 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      I don't think Roswell is really that much of a mystery any more. Everyone who was involved and is still (or was) alive have all provided testimony which indicates that Roswell was real and covered up.

      Lt Colonel Corso's book The Day After Roswell (1997) goes into major detail about how the government formed MJ-12 and reverse engineered the technology. All information that has come to light since proves Corso was not lying.

      I've got quite a few hubs on this subject. Stanton Friedman also later discovered that a 1941 Missouri crash document in the leaked MJ12 documents turned out to be real and another UFO crash was covered up as early as 1896.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Roswell is still the all-time greatest "UFO" incident in US history. The "Phoenix Lights" is also a very interesting piece--especially given the amount of recorded flight communications between legitimate commercial and military aircraft. To me, the bottom line is that this (Roswell) incident will always be shrouded in mystery, but it marks the beginning of a mass awareness that perhaps we are not all alone in space/time. Good Job Jorie! Don't worry about those correcting your use of "UFO" with what may or may not be an alien spacecraft--it is after all, UNIDENTIFIED, and as such could just as well be an extraterrestrial craft as it could be a "weather balloon". I will give that guy some props for bringing up the misfortune of astronauts being unwilling to discuss these matters for fear of their safety and careers. What a bummer! Astronauts could bring some real legitimacy into the story....

    • SantaCruz profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      Thanks, Cardia! It's a start anyway. I'll be posting a follow-up soon... The topic is more difficult than others because there's a lot of nonsense mixed in with the legitimate stuff :-).

    • Cardia profile image


      8 years ago from Barbados.

      Very interesting Hub! I've always been curious about the Roswell cases. This had lots of good information on it!

    • SantaCruz profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Santa Cruz, CA

      Thanks, Beberlee. The truth is out there ;-).

    • Beberlee profile image


      8 years ago from Philadelphia

      This is very interesting :)


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