By Roger Snodgrass
The New Mexican
The upcoming Roswell UFO Festival, July 5-7 this year, celebrates the 66th anniversary of a legendary flying saucer crash about 100 miles northwest of Roswell on a ranch near Corona. To this day, nobody knows for sure why officials at the Roswell Army Air Base at the time announced that a “flying disk” had been recovered. The story was quickly rescinded and the universe was seemingly split between those who believe the initial account and those who don’t. The officially corrected version and follow-up explanations long after the fact declared that the debris was from a secret research balloon project code-named MOGUL and that the “small bodies” recovered in the crash were not aliens, but test dummies.
The UFO festival caters to the believers and puts on a world-class agenda of paranormal experts in everything from the latest archaeological finds from the 1947 incident to crop circles, alien abductions, prehistoric astronomy and government cover-ups.
Asked to pick a high point of the program this year, Mark Briscoe, executive director of the International UFO Museum said all 20 speakers were major researchers. “We’re really excited about Jesse Marcel Jr.,” he added. According to Marcel’s book, The Roswell Legacy, published in 2008, his father Jesse Marcel Sr. was the first military officer at the scene of the crash and in the middle of the original controversy. “From my understanding, Jesse Jr. got to see the debris and hold it,” said Briscoe. “This is the last time he is going to speak.”
Those who don’t subscribe to the Roswell narrative, on the other hand, side with the scientific consensus. From nearly the beginning, scientists took almost the opposite tack. At the nuclear weapons laboratory in Los Alamos in about 1950, according to an archival document, Edward Teller remembered walking to lunch at Fuller Lodge with three other scientists, including Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi. Teller, often identified as “the father of the hydrogen bomb,” said he had kind of a vague memory, “that we talked about flying saucers and the obvious statement that the flying saucers are not real.” . . .
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