Seventy years ago, on 24 June 1947, flying saucers were spotted ‘invading’ planet Earth. It was a reported as a modest formation of nine unusual objects flying at high speed over Mount Rainier, Washington, USA.
The witness was Kenneth Arnold, who was not a jet pilot, astronomer or scientist, but a civilian fire systems salesman who was flying from Chehalis to Yakima.
Just before 3pm, he was just turning his CallAir A-2 aircraft eastwards, when his attention was caught by powerful flashes of light coming from the north of Mount Rainier.
At a distance of about 23 miles he saw nine convex shaped objects flying erratically, like saucers skimming across water.
In a confidential statement to Army Air Force Intelligence dated 12 July 1947, he said:
I am convinced in my own mind that they were some type of airplane, even though they didn’t conform with the many aspects of the conventional type of planes that I know.
Not long afterwards he was interviewed by local newspaper reporters who found him articulate and credible. The original stories referred to the objects as saucer-like but this soon turned into the term ‘flying saucer’ that we know and love today.
His sighting was a sensation at the outbreak of the Cold War, when tensions between the USSR and USA were quickly escalating. People wondered if Arnold had seen Soviet remote controlled missiles or some new U.S. weapon being secretly tested. Speculation was rife but no one then, or since, has come up with the ultimate explanation for his sighting.
The inability to find a satisfying explanation led to thoughts that these new fangled flying saucers were being controlled by extraterrestrial aliens. As time has passed the term flying saucer has been supplanted by the more scientific term Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).
Whatever, the terminology the subject of ufology has come to embrace everything from lights in the sky to alien abductions and government conspiracy.
Only a few days after Arnold’s sighting, on 8 July 1947, the Roswell Army Air Base publicly announced that they had recovered the remains of a crashed flying saucer from a nearby ranch.
The wreckage was sent to Wright Patterson Air Base and it was quickly announced that it was the remains of a conventional weather balloon.
The Roswell case was largely forgotten or at best dismissed as a footnote in UFO history until the late 1970s, culminating in the publication of The Roswell Incident by Charles Berlitz and William Moore in 1980.
Since then it has encouraged all manner of ‘eye-witnesses’ (or friends of friends of eye-witnesses) who saw the debris and dead alien bodies being retrieved and held in storage by the U.S.A.F.
To some Roswell is the ultimate proof that the U.S. government has concrete evidence of an alien presence; to others it is a myth that has been inflated out of all proportion to the facts.
UNILAD interviewed someone who claims to have been abducted by aliens:
[ooyala code=”EwZDd1YjE6iX9LLMJmNQs4veU33Y61Mt” player_id=”5df2ff5a35d24237905833bd032cd5d8″ auto=”true” width=”1600″ height=”1000″ pcode=”twa2oyOnjiGwU8-cvdRQbrVTiR2l”]
Rather than being a spaceship, UFO author John Keel claimed that a Japanese FUJI balloon, launched during World War II had finally returned to Earth, causing the Roswell crash.
Another explanation was that this was a balloon used by Project Mogul; a top secret US project used to spy on the USSR. Due to public pressure, internal investigations were launched by the General Accounting Office to disclose the truth of the matter. Their first report, in 1995, confirmed that the wreckage was of a Project Mogul balloon.
In 1997, their second report looked at the rumours and stories about recovered alien bodies. This concluded that they were a combination of rumours, and half-forgotten memories of missions involving the recovery of injured pilots or anthropomorphic dummies used in experimental projects unconnected with UFOs.
These reports did little to dent the enthusiasm for speculation about the Roswell crash. Indeed, in 1995 more fuel was added to the flames when Ray Santilli, a British entrepreneur, released film footage, which showed a graphic autopsy of a recovered alien from the Roswell crash.
Several years later, he admitted that this was a reconstruction of the autopsy as the ‘genuine’ film footage had been lost.
In 2011, Roswell hit the headlines again when a book by journalist Annie Jacobsen – Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base – claimed that the aliens recovered from Roswell were actually genetically mutated 12-year-old children.
They were sent by the Soviet Union to the USA in a remotely piloted aircraft to promote hysteria in the American population.
[ooyala code=”d2dzV1YjE6Ng7OfLBPw6y-Sp0A51iSSa” player_id=”5df2ff5a35d24237905833bd032cd5d8″ auto=”true” width=”1280″ height=”720″ pcode=”twa2oyOnjiGwU8-cvdRQbrVTiR2l”]
Several years earlier, a similar theory was put forward by Nick Redfern, who claimed that the Roswell crash was caused by a balloon based on Japanese technology.
The balloon was used to launch a glider that had a pilot and crew consisting of handicapped people. The object of this and other missions was to study the effects of radiation and high altitude on the human body.
In 2015, pictures of the alleged Roswell alien were given worldwide publicity. They soon proved to be images of a mummy in an exhibition case, once again the gullibility of UFO experts and our wish to believe in aliens from outer space.
With the 70th anniversary of the Roswell incident, a number of new pieces of evidence have just come to light. One of the most intriguing is a 47-page top secret dossier of 1950s vintage, which details the recovery of 327 fragments of the Roswell craft and four decomposing alien bodies.
After examining the bodies, the report states:
It was the tentative conclusion (November 30 1947) that although these aliens are generally human-like in appearance, the biological and evolutionary factors responsible for their development has apparently been quite different from those observed in home-sapiens (Earth humans).
Slightly more credible is the testimony of a former U.S. Deputy Sheriff, Charles H. Forgus published in a newly published book UFOs Today: 70 Years of Lies, Disinformation and Government Cover-Up by Dr Irena Scott.
Forgus said he was travelling from Texas to Roswell, and heard about the crash on the radio and made a detour to see it. He says he saw about four hundred soldiers using a crane to put a 100ft diameter craft on the back of a truck, and hauling away four, 5ft tall, brownish coloured, humanoid aliens that seemed to be dead.
It does seem odd that the military didn’t block off the road to the crash site, and just allowed someone to openly view these activities without being stopped or questioned.
Joe Nickell and James McGaha have even put forward the concept of the Roswellian Syndrome, which has five main stages:
1. The Incident. This is the event that initially triggers the crash retrieval rumours.
2. Debunking. The recovered wreckage is quickly given a mundane explanation.
3. Submergence. The story lingers in the fading memories and speculation of the local population.
4. Mythologising. As time passes faulty memory, exaggeration and deliberate hoaxing comes into play.
5. Re-emergence and Media Bandwagon Effect. The story resurfaces in the media and takes on a life of its own.
Kenneth Arnold’s sighting triggered the whole UFO saga, but he is largely forgotten and overshadowed by the power of the Roswell myth. Or is that what ‘they’ want us to believe? Is the real evidence of Roswell and flying saucers tucked away in Area 51 or some other government facility?
Will the truth ever emerge or will we still be asking similar questions in 70 years time?