|UFO Museum Roswell New Mexico|
Traveling to Roswell
Roswell is about a 3 1/2 hour drive and about 200 miles southeast of Albuquerque. The roads getting there are excellent, mostly being Interstates and divided highways.
If you're traveling on Interstate-40 through New Mexico, most people exit at Clines Corners about 50 miles east of Albuquerque and drive south on US Hwy 285. Plenty of excellent Roswell hotels in all price ranges. The general area around Roswell offers many other great historic sites and landmarks, many dating back to the days of Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War in the late 1800's. You may want to add the Fort Sumner historic site to your New Mexico trip planner.
I found the Roswell UFO Museum in downtown Roswell to be much more than I had anticipated. The official name is the International UFO Museum Research Center and it is every bit what the name implies. This site has a vast collection dedicated to explaining what occurred near Roswell in July of 1947. In addition to pictures of UFO craft and alien photos, it displays all the known facts of the incident including many descriptions from local citizens of the time as to what exactly took place. The goal is to educate the museum's visitors concerning this incident near Roswell and also other UFO sightings and incidents that happened throughout the world.
Whether or not you are a believer in UFOs in general or in the Roswell incident in particular, you will be fascinated by what you will see in this museum and research center. It's collection of materials, pics of UFOs and displays will give you more than enough information to make a determination of your own.
One interesting display at the Roswell museum is a large collection of UFO photographs taken from around the world. Some were determined to be hoaxes and are labeled as such with an explanation of what was really in the photograph. Others have been determined by experts in photography as being authentic. It's quite informative to study the pictures and as I mentioned there are plenty to view. You will most likely not find a better source of information on the subject of the Roswell crash anywhere else in the world.
Roswell New Mexico in the 1940's
|Jesse Marcel Press Conference|
Roswell New Mexico at the time of the UFO crash was very much a military town. World War Two had ended and the Cold War had begun. What was to be Roswell Army Airfield was begun in 1941 when the federal government purchased ranch land about three miles south of Roswell.
During World War Two it served as a training facility with over three hundred training aircraft. What some might not realize is that during the war the Roswell area was also housing thousands of German and Italian POW's mostly from the Allied African campaigns. At the end of World War II in 1945 the training mission at Roswell AAF ended. The base was then designated as a permanent Army Air Force facility and was transferred to 238th Army Air Forces Base Unit.
After the Roswell Crash
The Roswell crash incident reported in early July 1947 could probably be called the most publicized UFO incident in the world. It's probably the most debated incident as well. The main point of contention is what happened immediately after the alleged crash when the information officer at the airfield issued a press release stating that indeed an unidentified flying object crashed on a ranch northwest of Roswell. That release was picked up by both the local and national media. The local radio station in Roswell reported as much. The controversy really started when the army airfield officials quickly put out another release stating that the crashed object was a weather balloon. From about that point on to the present day the incident has been debated, most consistently over the last 30 to 40 years. Did the Roswell crash actually occur?
The Roswell Crash Debates
|Roswell newspaper headline|
What occurred decades after the reported incident were stories and descriptions of the events told by people who were present.
In some cases they were stories told by surviving relatives of witnesses. In some cases, internal communications regarding the incident made it's way to the general public. An official copy of the Army press release is not available. The tale however that is accepted by many is that the release was worded similar to the following...
The Press Release
"The many rumors regarding the flying disk became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eight Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the co-operation of one of the local ranchers and the Sheriff's Office of Chaves county. The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week. Not having phone facilities, the rancher stored the disc until such time as he was able to contact the Sheriff's office, who in turn notified Major Jesse A. Marcel, of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence office. Action was immediately taken and the disc was picked up at the rancher's home. It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters."
|Roswell radio station|
Believers would say that the sightings by the pilot confirms that there was some type of aerial activity going on at about that time.
Doubters would say that the report by the pilot had people thinking about flying saucers. Whichever it was and I'm not suggesting either theory, the material and evidence as presented at the International UFO Museum Research Center is an excellent start to investigate the findings on your own. The purpose of this story is to make you aware that there is a very educational and interesting museum and research center in Roswell New Mexico as a depository of information. It's well worth the visit.
Also see our Trips Into History article on the Roswell UFO Festival on the link below...
Roswell UFO Festival and Conference Photos
The witness statements well after the incident seem to paint quite a different picture than the official government reports. Statements from Major Jesse Marcel, Sheridan Cavitt and a 1st Lt. Robert Shirkey are among the most interesting for the researcher. Major Marcel was the head intelligence officer at the Roswell Army Airfield.
In 1947 Marcel went along with the story that the material found on the ranch near Roswell was debris from a crashed weather balloon. Then, interviewed by the National Enquirer about 30 years later, Marcel described the material as something with highly unusual physical properties beyond human technology and was "not of this earth," definitely not balloon material of any kind. Then, as a real shocker, added that the material publicly shown by his superior General Ramey in Fort Worth Texas was a substituted weather balloon swapped for the real debris he had brought the General from Roswell. The UFO researcher would have to ask why someone in the later years of life would make up a story like that.
|Sample of I-Bar symbols on UFO|
There were reports that Cavitt claimed he didn't go to the crash site and then reports that he did but not with Marcel. He described the material found at the site being something he never saw before and could not be bent, dented or ripped apart.
First Lt. Robert Shirkey was present when the crates of material were loaded on a military aircraft headed to Fort Worth Texas and General Ramey. Following is an excerpt of Shirkey describing what he saw during the loading operation...
".Standing only three feet from the passing procession, we saw boxes full of aluminum-looking metal pieces being carried to the B-29. Major Marcel came along carrying an open box full of what seemed to be scrap metal. It obviously was not aluminum: it did not shine nor reflect like the aluminum on American military airplanes. And sticking up in one corner of the box being carried by Major Marcel was a small 'I-beam' with hieroglyphic-like markings on the inner flange, in some kind of weird color, not black, not purple, but a close approximation of the two".
In addition to the above, at the Roswell UFO museum you'll see statements made by the local Roswell mortician in 1947 who claimed to get a strange call at the time of the incident inquiring about how to get hold of child sized coffins. You'll also hear a statement from a nurse who claimed to have walked in on a medical examination on ET's at the base hospital. One of the things that I find very compelling are these statements made by credible witnesses. I think that it's this latter year testimony from upstanding current and former citizens that make the story so believable. You will see and read all of this and more at the International UFO Museum Research Center.
|UFO reported to Sheriff Wilcox|
Mitchell claimed that the crash at Roswell was real, and that aliens have contacted humans several times. He claims that the government has kept this secret for over 60 years.
He stated... "I happen to have been privileged enough to be in on the fact that we've been visited on this planet, and the UFO phenomenon is real. After his radio interview, NASA when asked to comment on Mitchell's statement, denied any knowledge of what Mitchell was talking about. This of course just added more speculation to the Roswell UFO crash.
Again, what I think you'll find particularly interesting is the documentation from local witnesses and the time line of communications, mostly from military officials. A trip to the International UFO Museum Research Center is time very well spent and is a good addition to your New Mexico vacation. I would definitely recommend it as part of your next visit to New Mexico and it's a great stop for the entire family.
You might also want to visit the old army airfield three miles south of Roswell. Today it is the Roswell Industrial Air Center Airport and the site is the storage facility for many of American Airlines' retired Airbus A-300 aircraft. Airliner maintenance and refurbishing is also done at the site. When you drive there the first sight you'll see are dozens of commercial jumbo airliners on the tarmac. It's similar in a way to the Mojave California airliner storage airfield. The Roswell Industrial Air Center is home to a plastic manufacturer; Novabus Inc. has a bus factory there; a candy manufacturer and it serves as the Roswell Municipal Airport. The airfield offers a lot of good photo opportunities as well.
(Article and photos copyright Western Trips)
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