|The woo is out there|
|Aliens did it and ran away|
|Some dare call it|
This article mostly ignores Demi Moore.
 What people say happened
- Narrator: In A.D. 1947, Cold War was beginning.
- Captain: What happen?
- Mechanic: Somebody set up us the balloon.
- Operator: We get signal.
- Captain: What!
- Operator: Main screen turn on.
- Captain: It's you!!
- Greys: How are you gentlemen!!
- Greys: All your base are belong to us.
- Captain: ...
- Captain: Can we just give you that one base in Nevada?
 What we wish had happened
A delivery boy, a cyclops, a mad scientist, a crustacean with dubious medical credentials and a anthropomorphic robot time travel back to 1947. Their spaceship crashes in Roswell, and the robot and crustacean are captured. President Truman breaks out of a wooden crate and addresses the situation. The high-technology star drive, powered by cheap turquoise jewelry - why do you think it went to New Mexico? - is captured intact. After many decades of intensely secret research, its principles come to be understood, and H. sapiens sapiens takes its first steps as an interstellar spacefaring species.
 What actually happened
Well, there's quite a story there, but far less exotic than the UFOlogists have always said. The truth is, something did crash at Roswell. Although the term "flying saucer" was used in the newspapers in the area at the time, it was retracted in favor of "weather balloon." Neither was exactly accurate, though the latter is far closer to the truth.
On 14 June 1947, Roswell rancher Mac Brazel found a tangled clump of balsa wood, tinfoil, and some oddly decorated tape. Some military men from the nearby Army air field came by and picked it up, somehow mistaking it for a flying saucer. The Pentagon, realizing that it was a radar reflector from a nuclear weapons test detection system they'd been working on called Project Mogul[wp], called it a weather balloon and stopped talking about it. The first wave of the UFO craze started about a week and a half later in Washington State. Roswell would remain forgotten until the late 1970s, when true believers started investigating the story, jumped to a lot of conclusions, and elevated it into a gigantic conspiracy theory.
Roswell (the incident) has long since become a major moneymaker for Roswell (the town), and has become a byword for UFO believers (as a great coverup) and UFO skeptics (as a symbol of tenacious credulity).
 What didn't happen
 Stalin and Mengele
Area 51, a 2011 book by some Annie Jacobsen, a journalist, claims that the Roswell incident was the result of a botched attempt at psychological warfare against the United States by the Soviet Union. According to Jacobsen's book, Stalin tried to throw the US into a mass panic similar to the panic caused by Orson Welles' War of the Worlds by sending a remotely-controlled experimental aircraft with a payload of children surgically modified to look like aliens by no-one else but Dr. Mengele himself. It didn't work out because the aircraft crashed, the US military retrieved the wreckage and covered it up. Yeah.
The story is based on a single, anonymous source and it is unclear if the source made this up to pull Jacobsen's leg or if she exaggerated or misinterpreted what she had been told. (She has some history of, errrrr, over-dramatizing events.) Some of the rest of the ex-Area 51 personnel interviewed by her for the book are really not amused by the "revelation." It is very likely that the story is a publicity stunt to sell the book. Needless to say, the UFO believers are not convinced at all.
 See also
- Cecil Adams tackles Roswell in 1996 (including a debate with a believer)
- Skeptic's Dictionary entry
- Roswell Files
- See the Wikipedia article on Roswell UFO incident. (It has more references than this one.)
- New Mexicans for Science and Reason entry
- ↑ "Roswell That Ends Well," Futurama (2001)
- ↑ Area 51 Personnel Feel 'Betrayed' By Annie Jacobsen's Soviet-Nazi UFO Connection, AOL Weird News, 7 June 2011 (note the credulous way Jacobsen is given the last word)
- ↑ Not on My Roswell – Why the Joe Stalin Saucer Explanation for Roswell Is More Disinformation, James E. Clarkson, UFO Digest, 17 July 2011