What was actually recovered from the Roswell desert in New Mexico in 1947?
Hang onto your tinfoil helmet, because today we’re going to rocket into the history books and see for ourselves exactly what fell out of the sky in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.
In July of that year, a balloon train came down on the Foster Ranch, 75 miles northwest of Roswell, New Mexico. Rancher “Mac” Brazel, who had been reading about flying saucers, reported it to the local Sheriff, who in turn reported a crashed flying saucer to a Major Jesse Marcel at Roswell Army Air Field, but not before the local press heard about it. The debris, totaling some five pounds of foil and aluminum and described in detail by Mac Brazel, was recovered by officials from Roswell Army Air Field. These balloon trains were long ultra low frequency antennas designed to detect Soviet nuclear tests, held aloft by a large number of balloons, and were known as Project Mogul. With Marcel’s press release in hand, the Roswell Daily Record reported that a Flying Saucer was captured, and the following day, printed a correction that it was merely a weather balloon, along with an interview with Mac Brazel, who deeply regretted all the unwanted publicity generated by his misidentification.
It should be stressed that this was the end of the incident, and nothing further was said or done by anyone, until 1978 (that’s 31 years in which nobody remembered or said anything), when the National Enquirer, on what must have been a slow news day, reported the original uncorrected news article from the Roswell Daily Record. UFO fans went nuts. Stanton Friedman, a longtime UFO proponent, started interviewing everyone he could find who was still alive who had been connected with the incident and began constructing all sorts of elaborate conspiracies. These primarily centered around Major Marcel, who agreed that Friedman’s assertion was possible — that the government was covering up an actual alien spacecraft.
Two years later in 1980, UFO proponents William Moore and Charles Berlitz published The Roswell Incident. There wasn’t much new information in this book, it was essentially a collection of suppositions and interviews with a few people who were still alive, or their relatives. Even so, by this point, it’s important to note that the story really had not grown beyond the question of what debris had actually been recovered from the Foster Ranch in 1947.
Upon the book’s publication, the National Enquirer tracked down Marcel and published their own interview with him. This was all well and good, but since there still wasn’t any new information or any evidence that Roswell was anything other than the Project Mogul balloon, things quieted down for a long time.
The story finally started to break open for real in 1989.