Today in American History: June 24, 1997

Today in American History: June 24, 1997



In June of 1997, the United States Air Force released a 231 page report shooting down the rumors of an alien crash in Roswell, New Mexico. This report came almost exactly 50 years after the incident. 

The publics interest in UFOs started in the 1940s. This was the age of space and caused many Americans to look to the skies. Roswell is located in southeastern New Mexico, and soon became a hotspot for alien believers because of thee strange events that look place in July of 1947. In the early days of July 1947, a ranch foreman named W.W. Brazel found a shiny material that was scattered all over his land. He called the sheriff and turned over the materials, which then passed to authorities at the Air Force base nearby. By July 8, the Air Force only fanned the flames by announcing that they found wreckage of a "flying disk." Thus, setting the UFO craze in motion.

Realizing their mistake, the Air Force quickly retracted their story. They pivoted and said it was only debris from a downed weather balloon. The interest in UFOs graduated faded, aside from the true die hard believers, until around the 1970s. Claims were circulating that the military had only made up the story of the weather balloon to cover up the alien crash. The UFO believers claimed that the authorities actually retrieved several alien bodies from the crash site and that they were stored in a secret installation called Area 51 in Nevada. The Air Force didn't want these suspicions running around, so in 1994 they released a 1,000 page report. In this report they claimed that the debris was in fact from a high altitude weather balloon that launched from a missile test site as part of a classified experiment to detect Soviet nuclear tests.  

 Just three years later, around the 50th anniversary of the incident, the Air Force put out another report. This one titled, "The Roswell Report, Case Closed." This report was much shorter than the first, but again drove home the point that the government had no evidence that any kid of alien life form was found at the crash site, and that there was no connection to UFO sightings. They went on to explain that the "bodies" recovered were of dummied, not aliens. The government's hopes of squashing the cover up debate didn't go as planned. Die hard UFO believers tore apart the report, and continuously pointed out the inconsistencies. Theories still exist today among the public about what really happened. Roswell is still thriving and a destination for UFO enthusiasts from all over the world. There's no shortage of alien memorabilia and they have a UFO Encounter Festival every July, along with an International UFO Museum and Research Center.

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