July 8

1947 — Press Release reports crash of “flying disc” in Roswell, New Mexico


Maxwell Kipling never believed the story about the weather balloon.  More plausible was the explanation offered in the 90s, that the Roswell object was connected to secret nuclear testing.

Even more plausible, to his mind, were theories that involved an alien spacecraft, recovered alien bodies, and a subsequent government cover-up.  There were too many people who believed the alien angle — there simply had to be a kernel of truth behind such wide-spread consensus.

But seeing is believing, and his guide had promised (for a substantial fee) to take Maxwell to the actual crash site an hour’s drive outside the town.   You always had to pay money to get to the real truth — away from the souvenir shops, restaurants shaped like flying saucers, glowing green alien caricatures painted on the sides of buildings.  As the guide’s jeep drove farther and farther from town, the unreality of Roswell’s tourist attractions slipped away, and Maxwell felt each mile bringing him closer to something authentic.

His guide encouraged the notion.   Maxwell had located the man through a series of threads on an Internet message board, and had tracked him down and sent a few private emails in advance of his Roswell visit.  “This won’t exactly be an alien encounter,” the guide said now, keeping his eyes on the road ahead as he drove, “but it will be the closest you could get.  I can’t say anymore.”   The man looked a lot like his message board avatar, a blurred, low-res black and white picture that might have been clipped from a newspaper or frame-grabbed from an FBI evidence film.  Here, smoke from the man’s cigarette, and dust from the jeep’s tires spinning up from the dirt road, recreated the blurring effect.

They’d taken an unmarked side-road off the main highway, and Maxwell understood the necessity for the jeep.  Parts of the road were unfinished, and twice they had to drive around a fallen tree.

“I’d heard the crash was outside a farm,” Maxwell said.

“It ain’t a farm no more.”  The guide offered no further explanation.  Maxwell hoped he’d be more talkative when they reached the site.

It occurred to him that he hadn’t told others in his tour group where he was going, and hadn’t shared any information about his private tour guide with friends or co-workers back home.  Part of the reason was that Maxwell had been embarrassed about the amount of money he was paying this guide:  he didn’t want to say anything about his excursion until afterwards, when he’d presumably have exciting details to share.

Or, if it turned out to be a bust, he’d simply keep the whole story to himself.

“We’re here.”  The guide stopped the jeep, then pulled back the emergency brake.

This spot was definitely off the beaten track.  There were no signs to indicate the historical importance of the area, no markers that would have helped drivers confirm the location.  Maxwell never could have found the place on his own; the guide was definitely a good investment.

They exited the jeep, and the guide led him through a section of woods that Maxwell expected would eventually open up into a clearing.  He wondered what internal compass confirmed each of the guide’s steps, which trees or rocks the man recognized as landmarks.

It seemed like they’d been walking a long time.  Maxwell thought maybe they’d gone around in a circle.

After another fifteen minutes through rough woods, the guide paused in his tracks and turned to face him.  “This is it,” he said.  “The original Roswell crash site.”

[…continued tomorrow…]