History or Hoax: Roswell

History or Hoax: Roswell

Caroline Dew, Senior Editor

The concept of life outside of earth has always intrigued people. Space is huge, and the probability of some other life form living somewhere out there is unknowable. Perhaps this is why UFO and alien stories are so prevalent and interesting. One particularly baffling instance of UFOs and aliens is the Roswell UFO. In July of 1947 in Roswell, New Mexico, an unidentified object crashed into a ranch. A rancher, “Mack” Brazel, found the debris shortly after. Brazel was astounded by the odd appearance of the debris, and the large trench that the object had allegedly made when it crashed.


Brazel described the wreckage as “A large area of bright wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, and rather tough paper, and sticks.” Brazel took some of the debris to Roswell, where he showed Sheriff George Wilcox the wreckage. The sheriff was amazed as well. Wilcox was astounded as well, and he contacted more people for help. Eventually, it reached General Roger W Ramey, the commander of the 8th air force in fort Worth, Texas. An intelligence officer, sent to investigate, made a public statement. “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell.”


In response to the articles and headlines written about the alleged UFO, an Air Force official corrected the report. They said that the alleged UFO was simply a crashed weather balloon. The materials were clearly not something used in a weather balloon, however.  They looked and behaved alien – they were materials that people had never seen. People remained skeptic about the source of the UFO. They believed that the government was covering up knowledge that they had about extraterrestrials and UFOs. These suspicions only increased in the 1500’s, when the Air Force began testing ways for pilots to survive falls from airplanes. The Air Force began to conduct secret ‘dummy drops’ across vacant fields in New Mexico. These dummies were featureless and had latex skin, and to skeptics, resembled aliens. People began to believe that the government was experimenting on extraterrestrials.


People began to believe that Brazel had found the remains of an alien spacecraft for years. In 1994, the army declassified files on something called ‘Project Mogul’. Project Mogul, they say, is what was responsible for the mysterious ‘spacecraft’. Since World War II, a group of geophysicists and oceanographers had been working on top-secret atomic espionage projects. The remains found at Roswell were revealed to be the remains of a sturdy high-altitude balloon that would, they thought, assist in spying on the Soviet Union. According to Project Mogul, the remains found in Roswell were the remains of a 700 foot long string of neoprene balloons, radar equipment, and sonic equipment. At the time, the project was extremely secret, so not even army officials near Roswell knew what to make of the unique object.


People still believe that the government knows more than it is letting on about Roswell, and about extraterrestrials in general. In such a vast universe, some think it is nearly impossible that we are the only planet that supports life. Perhaps there is more to Roswell than just Project Mogul – they kept it a secret for 50 years. One can only imagine what other secrets lie in the documents in the hands of government officials.