Date: Mon Sep 12 1994 00:00:18
From: Sheppard Gordon
Subj: Roswell Report out
Air Force won't discourage true believers of UFO story
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