UFOs and conspiracy theories still fuel discussion and interest
Since 1947, when a New Mexico rancher found debris in his field, Roswell has been the center of conspiracy theories and a tourist destination for those looking for aliens. This weekend will be no exception as the city celebrates 75 years since the “Roswell Incident”.
In late June and early July 1947, the country was awash with UFO sightings. El Paso and Juárez were no exception.
A couple sees a “flying top” in the sky near the EP
June 30, 1947: Mr and Mrs RC Burgess yesterday joined the rapidly growing ranks of El Paso residents who saw mysterious glowing objects flying overhead.
“We were driving down Mesa Road past the Westerner Inn shortly after 4 p.m.,” Ms. Burgess said. the rapidity.
“It was silver in color and shaped like a boy’s top. It looked like a big toy balloon. There was no sound. The object continued north and disappeared in about 10 minutes. It seemed to blend into the sky.
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El Pasoan reports seeing a flying disc at noon on July 4
July 9, 1947: EE Polk reported today that he saw a flying disc near his home at noon on the 4th of July.
“I was watching pigeons above the house when the disc came into my line of sight,” he said.
“It appeared to be about 1,000 feet high and moving very quickly in a westerly direction.”
Mr. Polk said the disc was visible for less than 15 seconds. He disappeared so quickly that he had no time to draw the attention of a neighbor to his flight.
He described the disc as “the size of a pie plate with jagged edges.” It was an off-white color, he said.
“It’s just tortillas”
Foreign newspapers had fun joking about flying discs.
A cartoon from El Universal, Mexico City, showed a couple of farmers looking at records in the clouds with the husband saying, “Don’t worry, it’s just tortillas.” You know that their price is exorbitant.
Reported discs seen over Juárez
July 8, 1947: Seven disc-shaped flying objects were reported sighted over northwestern border towns, said Francisco Ernesto Duran, announcer for the city of Chihuahua radio station XEFT, on July 7, 1947.
Duran said five of the mysterious saucers, dubbed “disco voladores” in Spanish, have been seen in recent days over Mexicali and two over Juárez.
Roswell incident on July 7, 1947
These sightings culminated in what became known as the “Roswell Incident”.
In early July 1947, William Ware “Mack” Brazel reported finding debris on a ranch near Corona, New Mexico, about 80 miles northwest of Roswell. On July 8, the Roswell Daily Record reported that the 509th Bombardment Group Intelligence Office at Roswell Army Air Field announced that it had come into possession of a flying saucer.
The story made headlines around the world, but less than 24 hours later the military changed their story.
In a July 9, 1947 Associated Press article from Roswell, it was reported that the debris found by Brazel was actually from a weather balloon:
An examination by the military revealed that the mysterious object found on a remote ranch in New Mexico was a harmless high-altitude weather balloon, not a flying disc on the ground.
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Excitement high until the mystery is cleared up
Excitement was high all the way to Brig. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, commander of Eighth Air Force Headquarters in Roswell, cleared up the mystery.
The bundle of foil, broken wooden beam and rubber remnants of a balloon was sent there on Tuesday by Army Air Transport following reports it was a flying disc . But the general said the objects were the crushed remains of a wind target used to determine the direction and speed of winds at high altitudes.
Warrant Officer Irving Newton, forecaster at the Air Force Weather Station in Roswell, said: “We use them because they go much higher than the eye can see.”
The weather balloon had been found several days earlier near central New Mexico by Brazel, who said he hadn’t thought much of it until he traveled to Corona, New Mexico, and heard the reports from the flying disc.
He returned to his ranch, 85 miles northwest of Roswell, and recovered the wreckage of the balloon, which he had placed under brush.
Then Brazel hurried back to Roswell, where he reported his discovery to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff called Roswell Airfield and Major Jesse A. Marcel, intelligence officer for the 509th Bomb Group, was assigned to the case.
Discovery is not a flying disc
Colonel William H. Blanchard, commander of the bomb group, reported the discovery to Ramey and the object was immediately transported to Army field at Roswell.
Ramey went on air here on Tuesday night to announce that the New Mexico discovery was not a flying disc.
Newton said that when mounted, the instrument “looks like a six-pointed star, has a silvery appearance, and soars through the air like a kite.”
In Roswell, the discovery sparked a wave of excitement.
Sheriff George Wilcox’s phone lines were jammed. Three calls came from England, including one from the London Daily Mail, he said.
An Army field public relations officer said the ball was in his office “and will likely stay there”.
Newton, who carried out the review, said some 80 weather stations in the United States used this type of balloon and it could have come from any of them.
He said he sent identical balloons during the invasion of Okinawa to determine ballistic information for heavy weapons.
“It was not a kite”
The next day, an Associated Press article in the Las Cruces Sun-News said that Brazel was sorry for saying anything about his discovery:
“If I find anything other than a bomb, it will be hard to get me to talk,” he told The Associated Press.
But Brazel made no statement. He said he didn’t know what it was.
Brazel described his discovery as being made of a large number of pieces of paper covered in a foil-like substance and held together with small sticks, much like a kite. Scattered with the materials over an area about 200 meters in diameter were pieces of gray rubber. All the pieces were small.
“At first I thought it was a kite, but we couldn’t put it together like any kite I’ve ever seen,” he said. “It wasn’t a kite.”
Brazel told his story
While scouring the range at his ranch 30 miles southeast of Corona on June 14, he sighted some glowing objects. He picked up a piece of the stuff and took it to the ranch seven miles away.
On July 4, he returned to the scene with his wife and two of his children, Vernon, 8, and Bessie, 14. They collect all the coins they can find. The largest was about 3 feet in diameter.
Brazel said he hadn’t heard of “flying discs” at the time, but several days later his brother-in-law, Hollis Wilson, told him about the disc reports and suggested he might to be one.
“When I went to Roswell, I talked to Sheriff George Wilcox about it,” he continued. “I was a little ashamed to mention it, because I didn’t know what it was.
“I asked the sheriff to shut up,” he added with a chuckle. “I thought people were going to laugh at me.”
‘Lord, how has this story travelled’
Sheriff Wilcox referred the discovery to intelligence officers at Roswell Army Airfield, and Marcel and a man in civilian clothes whom Brazel could not identify went to the ranch and took the pieces of equipment to the airfield.
“I didn’t hear about it again until things started to break out,” Brazel said. “Lord, how this story has traveled.”
Brazel said he didn’t see the thing before it fell, and was badly torn when he found it.
Trish Long can be reached at [email protected] or 915-546-6179.