On or around June 14, 1947, something fell from the skies above New Mexico, strewing wreckage and debris across land belonging to a foreman named William Brazel. He gathered up the strange metallic materials (just what exactly he gathered varies depending on who you believe) and eventually made his way to a nearby town some 30 miles away.
That nearby town’s name would soon come to live in infamy as among the most well known UFO stories in history. The Roswell incident, in the minds of many, served as the impetus for a resurgence in UFO interest, and perhaps even hysteria, throughout the United States. Timing, of course, is important when it comes to stories like Roswell, and it couldn’t have come at a better one for such a legend to germinate: reports of unidentified flying objects called “foo fighters” had made their way back from the European theater only a few years prior, as had the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The world was changing in vast and dramatic ways, with a generation that had seen the turn of the century, the rise of the automobile, and invention of the television also presiding over the single most destructive power ever unleashed in the history of mankind. The mid-20th century in the United States was a time of rapid advancement, a rapidly developing Cold War, and a populous more willing to believe in the incredible after having seen it for themselves in the form of doomsday weapons and kitchen conveniences.
Of course, it never hurts to give these legends a little kick start. In early July, as the U.S. Army got involved in gathering up and trying to explain the debris Brazel found on his land, they released a public press release to the local paper, relaying the details they’d gathered thus far.
Those details? Well, that the Army had recovered a crashed “flying disc,” of course — and the rest was history. Despite the Army recanting that claim and explaining the incident away with the release of information regarding a classified weather balloon program called Project Mogul, the UFO community would dismiss those stories as an attempt at a cover up — and whether you buy the “alien wreckage” story or the weather balloon one, the implications in American popular culture have been impossible to miss. Movies, TV shows, and conspiracy theories. The name “Roswell” is forever tied to things people are passionate about: a mystery most foul, the American tradition of distrust in government, and of course, the little green (or grey) men we’ve become so accustomed to in pop culture.
In the years since, the story of Roswell has been explored from every possible angle, with both official and unofficial sources muddied through the scope of time and the bias of those investigating, resulting in a number of very different stories about the fateful day Brazel found that debris: some claim he found a flying saucer, complete with alien bodies and potentially even a survivor. Others claim they found shreds of a weather balloon that one could hardly mistake for an advanced alien craft and more recent theories even include a Russian drone occupied by the mangled bodies produced by Soviet medical experiments (in their own twisted version of Project Paperclip). Deciding what happened for yourself can difficult but now, for the first time in more than seventy years, you can take an actual tour of the alleged crash site and see if it provides you with any insights of your own.
Three young women, Madison, Abby and Lauren Bogle, have just launched the 1947 Crash Tour company – a small outfit offering bus and personal tours to the Roswell crash site ranging in price from $65 to $250. They offer metal detectors that you can rent for your tour, just in case you think you may be able to spot a piece of a flying saucer the government missed since the ’40s (the site doesn’t say whether or not you can keep any alien debris you find).
Their first tour is set to kick off on July 5th, with subsequent tours scheduled for later in the month. If you score yourself a seat on that first tour, you’ll always have the pride in knowing that you participated in the first ever commercial tour of the Roswell crash site, if nothing else.
And who knows, maybe you can find a bit of evidence that finally puts this mystery to bed?
You can learn more about the tours at the 1947.UFO Crash Tour website here.
Image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force