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Roswell 1947 - Roswell before Roswell

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After the original incident of the "flying disc debris" found near Roswell in 1947 was explained the next day as balloon debris by the Army Air Force, what would become the Roswell incident was, we are told, completely forgotten until 1978, when Major Jesse Marcel, intelligence officer at the Roswell Army Air Base, came forward to claim that the debris were not from a balloon, but of something from another world.

But it is not totally true that "Roswell" had totally disappeared between these two moments...

Ted Bloecher, 1967:


Hoaxes and Mistakes

While newspapers still carried a few apparently genuine UFO reports -- often ried among a mish-mash of superficial nonsense -- the kind of stories that made headlines after July 8th were the sort a reader found impossible to take seriously. If a report wasn’t an out-and-out hoax, it was an embarrassingly obvious mistake. One of those mistakes, given the widest possible publicity, had its origins near Roswell, New Mexico, when a farmer named William W. ("Mac") Brazel discovered the wreckage of a disc on his ranch near Corona, early in July. After hearing news broadcasts of flying saucers reports, Brazel, who had stored pieces of the disc in a barn, notified the Sheriff's Office in Roswell, who, in turn, notified Major Jesse A. Marcel, of the Roswell Army Air Field intelligence office. The remnants of the disc were taken to Roswell Field for examination. Through a series of clumsy blunders in public relations, and a desire by the press to manufacture a crashed disc if none would obligingly crash of itself, the story got blown up out of all proportions that read "Crashed Disc Found in New Mexico."

According to AP on July 8th, public information officer Lt. Walter Haught made an announcement of the discovery: "The many rumors regarding the flying di became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriffs office of Chavez County." The effect of this reckless statement was equal to an atomic detonation; results were immediate. While newspaper deluged the air base for additional information, a search party was sent out to scour the landing site for additional fragments; the collected remains of whatever it was that had crashed on Brazel’s ranch were taken to Eighth Air Force headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. There, Brigadier General Roger M. Ramey tried to clarify matters by first explaining that no one had actually seen the object in the air; that the remains were of a flimsy construction; that it was partially composed of tinfoil; and, finally, that it was the wreckage of "a high altitude weather device." Warrant Office Irving Newton, a weather forecaster at the Fort Worth Weather Station, had identified the crashed "disc" as the remains of weather equipment used widely by weather stations around the country when sending balloons aloft to measure wind directions and velocity. There remains the possibility that some super-secret upper-atmospheric balloon experiment had crashed near Corona, which would have accounted for all the confusion and secrecy involved in its recovery.

Whether the pictured balloon equipment carried widely in the press was actually a photograph of the recovered fragments remained a question, but news editors should have been on their toes: other similar incidents had already been reported, like the discovery several days before of the weather device at Circleville, Ohio. The New Mexico incident created an uproar in Washington, and high Army Air Force officials were reported to have delivered a blistering rebuke to Roswell Field spokesmen for having fostered the confusion. But the damage had already been done and the next day "Another Saucer Shot Down" was typical of the headlines found in American papers.



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