Earlier this summer, while en route to Taos, my wife, niece and I stopped by Roswell, N.M., to check out its annual UFO Festival. It was beastly hot, and I was already developing pneumonia, so I didn’t get to see a whole lot while we were there. My memory of our visit is kind of fuzzy, too. Maybe I was abducted and lost time.
Anyway, Roswell is ground zero for UFO conspiracy theorists in America. Maybe in the world. In 1947, the story goes, at least one UFO crashed on a Roswell ranch. Witnesses reported seeing aliens dead and alive. The wreckage included lightweight beams imprinted with some sort of hieroglyphics and a foil-like material that could be crushed but would spring back to its original shape. The military got involved, sending out a news release proclaiming that an alien craft had been recovered. Soon after, the military corrected the initial report, saying what they had were the remains of a weather balloon. Locals claimed they were cautioned by Men in Black not to speak of what they saw, and over the years the whole thing blew up into a major deal. Roswell has been the subject of documentaries, books and movies and is the setting for an eponymous sci-fi TV series starring a young Katherine Heigl. The government’s current position is that the wreckage stemmed from a top secret operation called Project Mogul, in which microphones were carried aloft by air balloons to try to detect audio evidence of Soviet nuclear tests.
Whatever the truth is, Roswell has captured the imagination of UFO buffs. The city has turned that fascination into tourism dollars.
Anyway, I took some amateur photos while we there. The pics aren’t great, but maybe they’ll give you a hint of what it’s like there. My next several posts will consist of photos from Roswell. Click on them to increase their size.