While on our cross-country trek, Jonathan and I marked out some “must-see” spots on the map to zig zag our way to during our travel week. And our first sightseeing stop was in famous (infamous?) Roswell.
Roswell is located in Chaves County in the southeastern quarter of New Mexico. It is a center for irrigation farming, dairying and ranching and it is also the home of the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI), founded in 1891. Just another slice of American apple pie, in 2002, Roswell, New Mexico was named one of the top All-American cities in the country.
But what makes this city a must-see tourist stop is the UFO crash landing in 1947. Jonathan and I just HAD to go all Mulder and Scully all up on that place.
First off, the day after we visited Roswell, New Mexico, aliens tried to steal the photographic evidence I obtained during our travels there. While touring around Santa Fe, the aliens psycokenetically currupted the compact flash drive in my camera and NONE of the photos would show up on the camera OR on my computer.
I was pretty dang depressed. All of our digital photos in Roswell, GONE. Then my husband went all Jeff Goldblum in Indepence Day on my computer, cracked the alien code, and recovered the images from my broken memory card. YAY SCIENCE! We didn’t have a celebration cigar as the alien ships burned, but I DID get mad at a homeless guy for blowing cigar smoke in my daughters face then asking for change in Taos, and it was really hot. So it’s almost identical to the movie. A little… too identical.
All I’m saying is this Roswell stuff may not be all that crazy after all.
For those of you who don’t know, the story of Roswell and the close encounters of the governmental cover-up kind go a little something like this:
On June 14, 1947, after a severe thunderstorm, William “Mack” Brazel, a foreman working on the Foster homestead, noticed strange clusters of debris approximately 30 miles northwest of Roswell, New Mexico. Following the debris trail, he found a shallow trench gouged several feet into the ground, with the remains of a crashed unidentified flying object.
When the UFO find was reported to the local press, the military acted quickly and efficiently to recover the debris from the ranch hand. The debris, the press claims, was “unlike anything these highly trained men had ever seen”, and was flown without delay to at least three government installations.
On July 8, 1947, the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) public information officer Walter Haut, issued a press release stating that personnel from the field’s 509th Operations Group had recovered a “flying disk”, which had crashed on a ranch near Roswell.
After some public outcry and mass speculation of extraterrestrial activity and captured aliens (both live and dead), the United States Armed Forces issued another statement that what was recovered near Roswell was not, in fact, a flying disc, but was just debris from the crash of an experimental high-altitude surveillance balloon belonging to what was then a classified top secret program named Mogul.
As more and more stories of live and dead aliens from medical professionals and military member began to leak into the public, another government report concluded that the stories of recovered alien bodies were likely military accidents involving injured or killed personnel, or the recovery of anthropomorphic dummies in military programs like Operation High Dive conducted in the 1950s.
While the government issued their press releases, many locals began to claim that government officials took reporters notes from their desks and warned a radio reporter not to play a recorded interview with the ranch hand. Further, the men who took part in the recovery were supposedly told never to talk about the incident again by government agents, or “men in black”.
And so the UFO proponents raging that the military has engaged in a massive alien crash site cover-up was born. The Roswell incident has turned into a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, making the name “Roswell” synonymous with UFOs.
Over the years, books, articles, and television specials have featured the events and conspiracies surrounding the 1947 Roswell incident. By the mid-1990s, public polls such as a 1997 CNN / Time poll revealed that the majority of people interviewed believed that aliens had indeed visited Earth, and that aliens had landed at Roswell, but that all the relevant information was being kept secret by the US government.
So yeah. Roswell is pretty much the pilgrimage of the geeks, the freaks and the nerdy chics nowadays. How could we pass it up?!
So back to our trip!
We arrived in Roswell driving out from our last stop in Dallas, Texas. You basically drive through miles and miles and miles of nothing but tumble weeds, brown shrubs and barbed wire fences to get to a tiny town that is nothing but miles and miles and miles of tumble weeds, brown shrubs, barbed wire fences and some tiny buildings.. some of them UFO and alien themed!
Actually, the whole downtown strip is quiet and quaint, and the city has really capitalized on the alien theme. Downtown graffiti style murals display little green men emerging from spacecraft, storefronts ooze extraterrestrial life and even the street lamps sport unblinking alien eyes! We arrived into town a little late – clost to 4pm, so we only had one hour to visit the shops downtown before the entire town just closed shop. Like, seriously. The. Entire. Town. Closed.