Date: Mon Sep 12 1994 00:00:18 Subj: Roswell Report out UFO - Air Force won't discourage t

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Date: Mon Sep 12 1994 00:00:18 From: Sheppard Gordon Subj: Roswell Report out UFO ------------------------------- Air Force won't discourage true believers of UFO story 09/10/94 AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN First, it turns out that the famous photograph showing "Nessie," the Loch Ness creature, was an elaborate hoax. Now, the Air Force says the purported 1947 crash of a "flying saucer" near Roswell, N.M., was nothing more than a fallen military balloon. What's a lover of myths and conspiracies to do? Keep on believing. It must be a test of the faith of the less committed when evidence all piles up on the side of the unbelievers. But nothing will discourage myth and conspiracy fanatics. The "Nessie" photo actually depicted a toy submarine with a long neck and head mounted on the conning tower. We have the confession of the practical jokers. Yet the Nessie myth and tourist trade still thrive in Scotland. After all, the real creature could still be lolling happily in the loch, right? And so it will undoubtedly be in the case of the Roswell "space vehicle." In July 1947, the owner of a ranch near Roswell picked up debris that included foil-coated fabric, sticks, rubber and small I-beams with odd markings. Reports were that the Army Air Force intelligence officer who rounded up the wreckage had found a "flying disc." This was at a time when interest in UFOs was peaking. Within days, a higher-ranking officer said the wreckage was of a weather balloon. When the National Enquirer retold the story in 1978, the old UFO rumor got new life. Books were written in which the UFO myth was tied to a supposed Air Force cover-up. The tale made TV shows such as "Unsolved Mysteries." There's said to be a TV movie in the offing. Finally, at the request of U.S. Rep. Steven Schiff, R-N.M., the Air Force launched an official investigation. It took eight months. The result was a 25-page report released Thursday in which Col. Richard Weaver concludes that the debris came from a formerly top-secret balloon that monitored the atmosphere for evidence of Soviet nuclear tests. The investigation was an honorable effort, but ultimately a waste of time and an unmentioned amount of money. The report won't become a best-seller, but it will become more "evidence" of a cover-up conspiracy. The movie will go forward. The books will continue to sell. After all, what's more thrilling, dull fact or exciting fiction?

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