Today in History - The Roswell Crash

July 8th, 1947 - Days after something shiny crashed in the New Mexico desert, the Roswell Army Air Field issues a press release that says the military has recovered the remains of a “flying disc.” Although quickly discounted as erroneous, the announcement lays the groundwork for one of the most enduring UFO stories of all time. The military’s initial press release was straightforward in its handling of the discovery of wreckage by rancher W.W. “Mac” Brazel. “The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff’s office of Chaves County,” the press release read. “The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week. Not having phone facilities, the rancher stored the disc until such time as he was able to contact the sheriff’s office, who in turn notified Maj. Jesse A. Marcel of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office. Action was immediately taken and the disc was picked up at the rancher’s home. It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters.” The Roswell Daily Record headlined the story “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region,” providing a historical artifact that, in retrospect, seems ready-made for fueling an episode of The X-Files.

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