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.
The International UFO Museum’s motto is, “The Truth Is Here”, and it focuses not only on the nearby crash in 1947, but to other related areas of extraterrestial study: crop circles, alien abductions, Area 51, etc. etc. (There was a surprising lack of information on anal probes, which left me profoundly disappointed.)
My baby girl, for the first time in our traveling and playing and visiting random attractions, displayed a sense of interest in her surroundings. The exhibits fascinated her, the aliens made her giggle and relentlessly crawl to get to the friendly looking gents, and we couldn’t keep up with her wiggling, giggling and sudden outburst of excited tourist frenzy.
One of the museum’s star attractions is a prop alien corpse dummy from the 1994 Showtime movie “Roswell: The UFO Coverup,” lying on a hospital gurney inside a glass-walled room. The various imagery in the museum ranged from creepy and surreal to cheesy and thrift-store-tastic.
With diagrams of the crash site, soil samples from the area, one of the Air Force’s 1950’s anthropomorphic dummies on display and even some samples of the metal debris that is believed to be remnants from the UFO crash landing, the UFO Museum is THE stop in Roswell. Below is a photo of some of the scrap metal on display that was described as “nothing made on this earth” and having “super strength not associated with a weather balloon” by ufologist author Marcel. (Yes, that is a real title, I couldn’t even make that ish up if I tried.)
After the trip to the museum (one hour passed VERY quickly) we chased the clock and visited some local shops before they closed up for the day. We bought a coffee mug to add to my embarrassingly large collection and a shot glass to add to Jonathan’s embarrassingly small collection (he keeps breaking his shot glasses, in unintoxicated stupors of clumsiness) and then we circled the town to see if there was anything else to do before continuing on to Santa Fe.
On our way out of town we drove out to the local Walmart to see the “alien green” themed store (my sister visited about a decade ago and raved about the green Walmart), just to find that it’s a plain old boring Walmart now. A quick Google search revealed that apparently the locals took offence to their cities main source of revenue and alien-themed tourism taking over the town, so Walmart decided to take the “alien green” aspects of the store down. LAME!
We also tried to eat at Big D’s Downtown Dive, as the locals on UrbanSpoon and TripAdvisor seemed to rave about it being “da bomb” or something like that, but the somewhat classy looking corner dive was closed the day we arrived. The sign said it was for “employee training”. (Another alien conspiracy, no doubt.)
So without trying the local fare (SO disappointing, and very unlike us, you don’t even know) we loaded up on road trip snacks and supplies at the boring Walmart and continued on our journey to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The stretch between Roswell and Santa Fe, for the record, was absolutely and by far the most boring drive in our entire trek across the lower 48. But that’s another blog post for another day! In the meantime, check out our Roswell photo mash up below!
Have you ever visited Roswell, New Mexico? Does it look like a place you’d like to put on your travel bucket list? Share below!
Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.
Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at email@example.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com