by Michael Lauck
Headline edition, July 8th, 1947. The Army Air Forces has announced that a flying disk has been found and is now in possession of the Army. Army officers say the missile, found sometime last week, has been inspected in Roswell, New Mexico and has been sent to Wright Field, Ohio for further inspection….
This news bulletin was not from a movie or a vintage sci-fi radio show. It was an actual ABC broadcast passing along information from a press release issued by officers of the US Army only a couple of weeks after the news of the Kenneth Arnold sighting. The local Roswell paper also mentioned that a local couple had recently seen an unknown flying disk. Soon after the initial report, though, this story was retracted and it was announced that it was not a mysterious flying disk that had been found but merely a weather balloon. The only airfield in the world trusted with atomic bombs was staffed with officers that could not identify mundane weather balloon debris, even though weather balloons were in common use in the area. The report was soon forgotten.
Three decades later, the Roswell disk incident was rediscovered by researchers. Several books were written, new people claiming to be witnesses were found and interviewed and the Roswell crash began to enter the public consciousness. TV specials were produced, more books appeared and stories began to emerge of bodies being recovered. In the 1990s the Air Force felt enough pressure to make not one but two new statements explaining the Roswell incident.
It has been almost seven decades since ABC broadcast the news that a disk had been recovered by the Army in New Mexico and helped to start the “modern UFO era.” In all that time, though, has anything really changed? Are we any closer to knowing what is in the skies than we were in those days just after World War II?
The simple answer is no, we are not any closer to knowing what the mysterious objects spotted in our skies are or where they originate. After nearly seventy years there is still no piece of undeniable evidence that proves that unidentified flying objects are controlled craft. The US government still denies that UFOs are anything other than misidentifications and swamp gas. So why has the so-called UFO mystery not gone away?
People keep seeing things in the sky. Thanks to the advancement of technology, they are not only just seeing objects but getting photographs and video as well. This has all been, though, a bit of a double edged sword because along with the genuinely mysterious objects captured on film and video and objects that can be identified after analysis, there are also purposefully made hoaxes. Now virtually all Americans have a digital still and video camera built into the phone in their pocket. It is easier to capture imagery of UFOs but those phone cameras do not produce high quality images, especially at a distance or in low light. Worse yet, they can easily be equipped with software to add fake “flying saucers” to images or the digital files can be manipulated later. So even though modern camera technology has helped to maintain interest in UFOs, it is not creating imagery that proves that flying saucers are, indeed, real.
Seven decades of technological advancement has helped the search for UFO proof help in other ways. There have been, for example, radar contacts with otherwise unidentified flying objects. Unfortunately, the best radar contacts do is prove that something was in the sky. Thanks to new mass media options, those interested in the UFO mystery have an easier time than ever before finding more information. This, too, can backfire when the information presented is less than credible (such as the infamous Alien Autopsy special). While radio shows, podcasts, magazines, websites and even TV programs help spread information and research, stories and theories that should have been laid to rest long ago instead find new support.
And then there is Roswell. After almost seventy years we are still no closer to the truth. Stories of dummies and misshapen, but human, corpses have been spread to explain accusations that alien bodies were recovered from the Roswell crash. The Air Force issued not one but two explanations during the ‘90s, both with shortcomings. The debris was simply balsa wood and rubber from a normal weather balloon used in a classified project and then they maintained people saw dummies dropped from great heights in secret experiments. They suggested that witnesses may have the dates wrong by years, even though it is easy to find newspapers and radio clips that confirm the date of the incident. Meanwhile, attempts to magnify the original images released of the so-called debris were made. Using these magnifications, some believe that the papers in the frame have legible text that suggests there was a cover up and new witnesses kept turning up.
In many ways, after almost seven decades it still all boils down to a single, very simple question. It is a fact that US Army Air Force officers issued an official press release stating that they had custody of a flying disk. Was the only air base in the world trusted with atomic weaponry staffed with high ranking officers that could not tell an off the shelf weather balloon from an unidentified advanced technology?