Oh, sure — we’d heard of Roswell. That’s where aliens descended upon the US back in the 40s. Right? Well, maybe. Maybe not. But when I signed on for a day of training teachers in Clovis, New Mexico, my husband and I decided we couldn’t pass up a chance to see what all the hoopla was about in nearby Roswell.
Even if other-world creatures hadn’t stepped foot into Roswell, you’d never know it just driving down the main streets where lifesize replicas and painted versions of outer space beings pop up everywhere.
From the alien street lights . . .
to hand-made fabric versions . . .
to stylized, make-you-smile renderings — aliens have landed, at least downtown.
We needed straight talk on this matter, so we parked our car and bought a ticket to the International UFO Museum and Research Center on North Main in the former Plains Theater building.
A worker taking a break was seemingly conversing with one of the foreigners, but more encounters of the third kind awaited us inside.
Opened in 1997, the museum houses artifacts and primary sources pertinent to the events of 1947.
Here’s a brief timeline of what “happened” in 1947 and what may have been covered up.
- July 4 — Mac Brazel, a rancher, heard a loud noise; two nuns saw what they believed was an airplane crash.
- July 5 — Brazel and his neighbor’s seven-year-old son discovered a debris field 300 yards wide and 3/4 mile long. Brazel picked up a sackful of “stuff” from the field.
- July 6 — Brazel takes “stuff” to Sheriff Wilcox in Roswell. Wilcox calls Intelligence Officer Jesse Marcel.
- July 7 — Funeral director Glenn Dennis gets a call about the number of child-size caskets he has in stock and how to preserve bodies exposed to the weather.
- July 8 — Press release was issued concerning the site and the lack of debris, limiting exploration by the public.
- July 8 — Debris that was spread on the floor in front of Intelligence Officer Jesse Marcel is replaced by weather balloon debris when Marcel is asked to step out of the room.
- July 8 — Glenn Dennis’s nurse sketches what she saw on the examination table — a big-eyed alien.
- Incidents were silenced for 30 years until Stanton Friedman started investigating the
Roswell Incident in 1979.
(Information from “Roswell Incident Timeline” at the International UFO Museum and Research Center.)
The museum houses witness statements, copies of newspaper articles, even furniture from the office receiving the “news.” And we have to admit, it’s really interesting — even if you think it’s just “hooey”!
At one point, we were reading the documents in veritable silence since few visitors were there. All of a sudden, a startling swoosh almost carried us off! It came from the saucer above the animatronic aliens in a display designed by Distortions Unlimited!
We jumped, then moved around the corner to take a closer look at a fairly “cheesy” display, but one with a chilling effect. Puffs of smoke swirled around the beings while colored lights flashed above. You can’t help but smile at this ship that takes off and lands every hour!
One corner touts the existence of aliens as noted in pre-historic drawings.
And another corner is dedicated to the many comic strips published on the subject.
Imagine our surprise when we saw a cartoon drawn by fellow Knoxvillian Charlie Daniel, an award-winning and much-loved Knoxville News-Sentinel cartoonist!
Consider these museum stats:
- During the summer of 2001, the museum recorded its one-millionth visitor.
- An average of 150,000 people stop by each year.
- The museum’s library houses the second largest collection of UFO info in the world.
We headed outside as puzzled as ever since there’s just enough information to make you wonder. And we both agreed with what’s published in the brochure given to us with our admission ticket: The primary goal of the Museum is to provide information so the visitor is able to make up their mind about the Roswell Incident, the UFOs and other possible extraterrestrial phenomena.
Whatever that “incident” was — it’s definitely had an impact on the town and people of Roswell!
By the way, if you’re in Roswell in early July, catch the Annual UFO Festival the weekend prior to or following the 4th of July. You’ll meet researchers, science fiction celebs, and fans of all things UFO.
So were “they” here? Or not? You’ll just have to go to Roswell and decide for yourself!
(If you’ve already been and have an opinion, we’d love to read your comments.)
International UFO Museum and Research Center
114 N. Main Street
Roswell, NM 88203
Facebook: Click here for International UFO Museum and Research Center