Something stunning happened in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. This unique incident had to do with aliens. Many stories have been told about it.

Anyone who has ever seen New Mexico knows how out-of-the-ordinary it is. The sky goes on forever -- electric blue by day, melting into intense reds and purples at sunset, then a forever of blackness at night. Bleached bones dot the white sand below.

More than fifty years ago, in 1947, towns in New Mexico were few and far between. Even people were few and far between. Water was scarce. Out in the desert, only the sheep survived, with the help of a few lonely ranchers.

World War II had been over for only two years. It had been the most nightmarish war in history, leaving sixty million people dead. Nations remained tense. The United States and the Soviet Union (known today as Russia) were growing especially chilly toward each other.

The night of June 13, 1947, was like no other night ever. A bizarre event took place in the desert outside the little town of Roswell, New Mexico.

Out of that forever-starry sky, an object fell to the ground.

When something unusual appears in the sky, wild rumors tend to sprout. So soon after World War II, Americans were more nervous than usual. Battles had been won and lost in the skies -- mysterious things happened up there. Even balloons were suspicious: Japan had sent balloons with bombs aboard over to California and other western states.

On June 14, eight-year-old Vernon Brazel woke up at dawn. All day long he helped out with chores on his dad's sprawling sheep ranch. His dad, W. W. Brazel, nicknamed Mac, barreled his truck right over the desert sand. Their ranch was so lonely that no roads led to it.

In the late afternoon, Vernon spotted something in the distance. Something gleaming on the ground. What was it?

But Mac wouldn't stop the truck. He was too busy with the daily rounds of the ranch to even pay Vernon much attention.

That night, over a dinner of cold pork and beans and crackers, Mac mentioned Vernon's excitement to Mrs. Brazel. Vernon's fourteen-year-old sister, Bessie, got excited, too. It didn't really occur to anyone in the family to call the police.

Even if they had wanted to, the Brazels didn't have a phone.

New Mexico played a starring role in World War II. Partly for its isolation, the area known as Los Alamos was chosen as the site of the top-secret Manhattan Project, which was created to develop the atomic bomb. Scientists worked round the clock on the most devastating weapon ever. Not until the United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan to end the war, killing hundreds of thousands, did the rest of the world learn what the Manhattan Project was.

Over the next three weeks, Vernon and Bessie Brazel almost went crazy. They were itching to go back and explore what Vernon had seen.

Finally, on the Fourth of July, Mac took a day off. He drove his family back out into the bleak desert. Vernon pointed the way.

Soon they glimpsed something in the middle of nowhere, some stuff that seemed to have dropped right out of the sky. Vernon and Bessie hopped out and raced around to gather up strange silvery scraps. The mystery material was etched with unearthly writing in pink and purple. Bessie and Vernon tried to make sense of it, gave up, then stuffed the material into sacks that once contained food for the sheep. Altogether the sacks weighed about five pounds.

Mac took everyone home. He still didn't think the whole business was important enough to report to authorities.

The following morning, Mac had errands to do in the tiny town of Corona. While making conversation with some people he ran into, he heard a new expression. People were buzzing about a man up in Washington State who had seen strange "flying disks" in the sky.

Mac started to wonder.

A couple of weeks earlier, on June 24, 1947, something jolted a businessman as he flew his private plane. Over Mount Rainier in Washington State, Kenneth Arnold later told newspaper reporters, he saw nine objects flying in formation, moving "like a saucer if you skip it across the water." Newspapers shortened his description, and Arnold became famous as the first person to see "flying saucers." No one has ever identified what Arnold did see -- tricky clouds, a flock of geese, guided missiles from a nearby army base? The age of UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) had officially dawned.

Two days later, Mac had some of his sheeps' wool ready to sell. To get a good price, he drove the truck all the way to Roswell, some one hundred and thirty miles away. Little Roswell was the nearest thing to a big city in that part of New Mexico. Since he was right there, Mac decided to drop in at the local sheriff's office. At long last, he reported that he and his kids had found some unusual stuff. Could it have come from one of those new "flying disks"?

The sheriff didn't have a clue. He wasn't quite sure what to make of Mac's story. To get some advice, he called up the local military authorities at the RAAF, the Roswell Army Air Field.

The next day, the front page of morning newspapers everywhere blasted the news: Aliens from another planet had landed at Roswell.


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The following account of the 1947 UFO incident was taken from public records, from information provided by the International UFO Museum and from the press release for UFO Encounter 1997.

On the evening of July 3, 1947 Dan Wilmot, a respected business owner, and his wife were sitting on their front porch when they saw a bright saucer shaped object with glowing lights moving across they sky at 400-500 miles per hour. Dan Wilmot estimated that the unidentified flying object was about 20-25 feet across. The flying object appeared from the Southeast and disappeared to the Northwest. Dan Wilmot reported his unusual sighting to the Roswell Daily Record.




Roswell Incident



The most widely discussed series of events and purported events in the annals of ufology, the "Roswell Incident" has now achieved the status of a major modern myth. On Jun. 14, 1947, ten days before Kenneth Arnold's seminal sighting of "flying saucers", William "Mac" Brazel came across some debris scattered across a 200-meter swathe of field, while doing rounds on the Foster Ranch, 120 kilometers (75 miles) northwest of Roswell, New Mexico. Later, accompanied by his wife and two children, he returned to the scene, collected some of the fragments and took them home. Not having access to a radio or phone, it was only on Jul. 5, when Brazel drove into the nearby town of Corona, that he heard news of Arnold's saucers and the many subsequent reports of mysterious disks in the skies over America. Two days later, while in Roswell to sell wool, Brazel dropped in at the office of Sheriff Wilcox and confided that he might have come across the wreckage of a disk. Wilcox contacted Major Jesse Marcel, the group intelligence officer for Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF), home to what was then the world's only atomic bomb squadron, who subsequently drove out to the Foster Ranch with Counter-Intelligence Corps Officer Sheridan Cavitt to inspect the crash site and collect the debris that Brazel had found. The following day an extraordinary press release was put out on the orders of Colonel Blanchard, RAAF's base commander:

The many rumors regarding the flying disks became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th bomb group of the eighth air force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disk through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the Sheriff's office of Chaves county. The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week.... It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters.

The headline of the Roswell Daily Record for Jul. 8, 1947 announced: "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell Region." America was stunned. Radio stations around the United States carried hourly bulletins. Reported one:

The Army Air Force has announced that a flying saucer has been found and is now in possession of the army. Army officers say that the missile ... has been ... sent to Wright Field, Ohio, for further inspection. Russia has demanded UN action ...

Swiftly, the news spread around the globe. Editors of major newspapers in London, Paris, Rome, and Tokyo bombarded the normally quiet editorial offices of Roswell's two local papers with calls for more details.

While this was happening, Marcel had flown with his crash samples to the headquarters of the Eighth Air Force at Forth Worth, Texas. There the incident was to take another abrupt and unexpected turn. Brigadier-General Roger Ramey, commanding officer, hurriedly convened a press conference at which Marcel displayed what was said to be the material brought from Roswell while the base Duty Weather Officer explained that the fragments were from a radar targeting balloon used for meteorological purposes. As two official investigations into the incident would conclude, four decades later, this story was invented to conceal a military secret.