July 08, 2013, 2:19 PM —
Image credit: Flickr/C.G.P. Grey
Sixty-six years ago today, the Roswell (N.M.) Daily Record bore the following main headline: "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell Region."
Subheadlines included: "No Details of Flying Disk Are Revealed" and "Roswell Hardware Man and Wife Report Disk Seen."
Here's some of what the paper reported, mere hours after it happened!
The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today, that the field has come into possession of a flying saucer.
Boy, that's some barnburner of a lead. Seriously, it's 1947 and someone just found a flying saucer in your godforsaken part of the desert. Show a little excitement! I've seen articles on school committee budget meetings begin with more verve.
According to information released by the department, over authority of Maj. J. A. Marcel, intelligence officer, the disk was recovered on a ranch in the Roswell vicinity, after an unidentified rancher had notified Sheriff Geo. Wilcox here, that he had found the instrument on his premises.
It really is a shame that this is the contemporary news article regarding the Roswell incident. It's just so, so bad.
Major Marcel and a detail from his department went to the ranch and recovered the disk, it was stated.
After the intelligence officer here had inspected the instrument it was flown to higher headquarters.
The intelligence office stated that no details of the saucer's construction or its appearance had been revealed.
Getting past the atrociously passive writing, so far it's an interesting story: The army itself "announced" it had a flying saucer.
However, the army also retracted the statement later that day, stating that the recovered flying object actually was a weather balloon.
Government bumbling or government cover-up? It's a question that has endured for decades.
But what about the "Roswell hardware man and wife" who saw the saucer?
Mr. and Mrs. Dan Wilmot apparently were the only persons in Roswell who saw what they thought was a flying disk.
They were sitting on their porch at 105 South Penn. last Wednesday night at about ten o'clock when a large glowing object zoomed out of the sky from the southeast, going in a northwesterly direction at a high rate of speed.
Wilmot called Mrs. Wilmot's attention to it and both ran down into the yard to watch. It was in sight less then a minute, perhaps 40 or 50 seconds, Wilmot estimated.
That's plenty of time to get a good look at something. The Roswell paper reports the Wilmots described the flying object as "oval in shape like two inverted saucers, faced mouth to mouth, or like two old type washbowls placed together in the same fashion. The entire body glowed as though light were showing through from inside, though not like it would be if a light were underneath."
Lest you think these are the embellishments of two publicity seekers desperate for attention, the nameless Roswell Daily Record writer will have you know that Mr. Wilmot "is one of the most respected and reliable citizens in town."
The next day the paper ran an interview with Mac Brazel, the rancher who says he first saw the crashed disk and debris in mid-June, but didn't get around to checking it out until July 4:
The next day he first heard about the flying disks, and he wondered if what he had found might be the remnants of one of these.
Monday he came to town to sell some wool and while here he went to see sheriff George Wilcox and "whispered kinda confidential like" that he might have found a flying disk.
Kinda confidential like!
The sheriff reportedly contacted RAAF, which sent Major Marcel and "a man in plain clothes" to check out the pieces gathered by Brazel and his family. Surprisingly enough, the Earthlings from the 1940s could not figure out that darned thing:
According to Brazel they simply could not reconstruct it at all. They tried to make a kite out of it, but could not do that and could not find any way to put it back together so that it would fit.
I'll leave on the kite thing, which kills me, but if you want to spend some time today exploring the Roswell mystery, this site does a pretty good job.