What Happened in Roswell, New Mexico?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

For many people around the world, hearing the name of Roswell immediately conjures up images of extra-terrestrial activity. Known internationally as the site of one of the most talked about incidents in the field of UFOlogy, Roswell has been the center of a controversy that has its origins in the middle of the 20th century. Even today, there are many people who feel there is a carefully planned cover-up regarding what really took place near Roswell, New Mexico all those years ago.

Various people have made claims that the corpses of alien visitors were recovered at Roswell.
Various people have made claims that the corpses of alien visitors were recovered at Roswell.

The incident that led to the worldwide fame of Roswell took place on 7 July 1947. It was on that date that reports of the discovery and collection of unidentified materials some seventy to seventy-five miles outside of the city were announced. The United States military handled the collection process, working in tandem with the Roswell Army Air Field and the local Walker Air Force Base.

Local news reports noted that William Brazel first discovered the strange materials on 14 June 1947, while working as a foreman on the Foster ranch near the town of Corona. New reports indicated the materials included thin sections of what appeared to be tinfoil, but were much sturdier. Later reports placed the initial discovery as occurring during the first few days of July rather than in June. Some news outlets openly speculated about the possibility of the gathered materials being the wreckage of an unidentified flying object, or UFO.

This was especially true after a press release issued on 8 July 1947 identified the materials as the remnants of a flying disc. A follow up press announcement renounced the earlier press release, correcting the information to state that the remains of a weather research balloon had been recovered. While a hot topic for a short period of time, the public soon lost interest in the subject, and the matter faded into obscurity.

However, the late 1970’s saw a renewal of interest in the events that occurred near Roswell in 1947. Hints of a government cover up to prevent a wide spread panic began to be circulated. During the decade of the 1980’s, a number of accounts by various persons who lived in the area of Roswell or who were with the military at the time came forward. Many of these new accounts included claims of a recovered spaceship, corpses of alien visitors, and autopsies that were purportedly conducted under high level security.

As public interest in Roswell continued to grow, the General Accounting Office of the United States conducted an investigation into the matter. The findings were released in 1995, with a second report issued in 1997. According to the reports, the recovered materials were linked to highly classified government projects, including one that featured the use of dummies in flight simulations. There was once again the announcement that all recovered materials were of terrestrial origin, and had nothing to do with alien craft or the recovery of any evidence of UFO activity.

The Roswell UFO incident has meant a boom for the city of Roswell, however. After the closure of Walker Air Force Base in 1967, Roswell sought to redefine itself as an ideal retirement community. The renewed interest in the 1947 incident quickly spawned a tourist trade that quickly led to the development of a significant amount of income and source of jobs for local citizens. Today, many people who hold to the existence of extra-terrestrial activity on earth consider Roswell a mecca. The city attracts a steady stream of visitors from all around the world, making the purported UFO incident a major source of revenue for the city.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


it's not a UFO. German aircraft from the World War II period have been strictly confidential and were undergoing tests after the war under Operation "peg." the U.S. left the German engineers and scientists here. Check what happens in germany, poland and czechoslovakia in 1940-44.


I'm glad someone else saw the ufo in Canoga Park, and the people on the freeway could have seen it from the freeway, too. Were you in the Zody's parking lot, too, or where were you when you saw it? Was it ever reported in the newspaper? They say there was one in Gaviota, California, too in about 1993 I think they said.


yes i saw that same thing. i could see its rotating lights.


We saw a UFO in the Zody's parking lot in Canoga Park, California, on Topanga Canyon Blvd, in 1980. Many of us saw it. From the time we first noticed it until it flew off, seemed like about a minute or so. It could have been seen from the freeway, also. Did anyone else see this?

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