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UFO Crash in Roswell

It was still dark at 5:29 am on July 16, 1945 when the first atomic bomb was detonated in New Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert. A blinding white light swallowed the fading night, ushering in the dawn of the nuclear age. Two years later in 1947, something fell from the sky during a massive thunderstorm just north of Roswell. Soon after, William Brazel, a ranch foreman, discovered a curious array of silvery debris. Believing it to be one of the strange flying discs that the townspeople had been speaking of, he stowed it as best he could and went to tell authorities. 

On July 8, 1947, Roswell Army Air Field public information officer, Walter Haut, issued a press release stating that a flying disc had been recovered, but the story was quickly suppressed as Colonel William H. Blanchard took charge. Blanchard, who had supervised the operations order for the delivery of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, shifted the narrative, stating that the debris was a mis-identified weather balloon. 

Some 70 years later, ufologists dedicated to the Roswell case struggle with rapidly dwindling sources as they pass on. Still, they believe. It is a commonly held belief among ufologists that the aliens that allegedly died in that crash were benevolent; they are drawn to our nuclear sites out of concern for the unfathomable destruction that nuclear technology can bring forth. 

New Mexico is the alpha and omega of the atomic age. The bomb was born in the desert. After Wyoming, New Mexico has the largest reservoir of uranium in the USA and has engaged in extensive uranium mining; nuclear weapons design and testing continues in Los Alamos; and 25 miles outside of Carlsbad is the country's only permanent depository for US military industrial nuclear waste, to remain buried underneath the desert for the next 10,000 years as its radioactivity slowly ebbs away. 

These things are true: 1) New Mexico is central to the atomic age 2) something did fall out of the sky near Roswell in 1947 and remains shrouded in mystery 3) the remote desert night sky in New Mexico is especially expansive, and looking at stars twinkling, it is easy to imagine other worlds beyond ours and the beings that might inhabit them. 

 Recreation of the first atomic bomb, detonated at White Sands, New Mexico in 1945 (mixed media including gouache and pastels on archival digital print depicting a family visiting the White Sands National Monument — print size is 45”x33”).

Recreation of the first atomic bomb, detonated at White Sands, New Mexico in 1945 (mixed media including gouache and pastels on archival digital print depicting a family visiting the White Sands National Monument — print size is 45”x33”).

 A flying saucer soars above the Plains of St. Augustin in New Mexico (digitally re-created myth).

A flying saucer soars above the Plains of St. Augustin in New Mexico (digitally re-created myth).

 Crashed spaceship decoration in Ruidoso, a mountain town just outside of Roswell, New Mexico.

Crashed spaceship decoration in Ruidoso, a mountain town just outside of Roswell, New Mexico.

 Ufologists fix a malfunctioning display at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

Ufologists fix a malfunctioning display at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

 Display depicting the alien autopsy at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

Display depicting the alien autopsy at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

 Ufologist Dennis Balthaser with a copy of a sketch allegedly done by a nurse present at the alien autopsies in Roswell, New Mexico.

Ufologist Dennis Balthaser with a copy of a sketch allegedly done by a nurse present at the alien autopsies in Roswell, New Mexico.

 Lecture room at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

Lecture room at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

 Motel and restaurant in White Sands, New Mexico, near where the first atomic bomb was detonated.

Motel and restaurant in White Sands, New Mexico, near where the first atomic bomb was detonated.

 Roadside lawn aliens and other American mythological characters for sale by a highway outside of Roswell, New Mexico.

Roadside lawn aliens and other American mythological characters for sale by a highway outside of Roswell, New Mexico.

 Aliens and humans lining up for a dusk parade through Roswell, New Mexico as a part of the annual UFO Festival held every year in July on the anniversary of the alleged 1947 UFO crash.

Aliens and humans lining up for a dusk parade through Roswell, New Mexico as a part of the annual UFO Festival held every year in July on the anniversary of the alleged 1947 UFO crash.

 Winner of the 2018 Roswell UFO Festival costume contest.

Winner of the 2018 Roswell UFO Festival costume contest.

 UFO Festival attendee dressed up as an alien.

UFO Festival attendee dressed up as an alien.

 UFO Festival goers dressed up as aliens.

UFO Festival goers dressed up as aliens.

 The Visitors Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

The Visitors Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

 Spaceship themed McDonald's in Roswell, New Mexico.

Spaceship themed McDonald's in Roswell, New Mexico.

 Scene from the annual UFO festival in Roswell, New Mexico, held in July on the anniversary of the alleged crash.

Scene from the annual UFO festival in Roswell, New Mexico, held in July on the anniversary of the alleged crash.

 Ambulance at the annual UFO Festival in Roswell, New Mexico.

Ambulance at the annual UFO Festival in Roswell, New Mexico.

 Roswell teenagers working at the 2018 UFO Festival.

Roswell teenagers working at the 2018 UFO Festival.

 Side of the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

Side of the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico.

 Signage along the main street in Roswell, New Mexico.

Signage along the main street in Roswell, New Mexico.

 The long-term parking lot at the Roswell airport backs up to an airplane boneyard. As a former Air Force Base, the tiny rural airport has one of the longest runways in the United States, capable of accommodating massive jets and heavy planes. After dropping the first nuclear bomb "Little Boy" on Hiroshima in Japan, the Enola Gay (a Boeing B-29) was operated from the Roswell Army Airfield, which was closed in 1967 and subsequently redeveloped as the Roswell civilian airport.

The long-term parking lot at the Roswell airport backs up to an airplane boneyard. As a former Air Force Base, the tiny rural airport has one of the longest runways in the United States, capable of accommodating massive jets and heavy planes. After dropping the first nuclear bomb "Little Boy" on Hiroshima in Japan, the Enola Gay (a Boeing B-29) was operated from the Roswell Army Airfield, which was closed in 1967 and subsequently redeveloped as the Roswell civilian airport.

 Roadside spaceship with alien in Socorro, New Mexico.

Roadside spaceship with alien in Socorro, New Mexico.

 An antenna at the Very Large Array research facility located in central New Mexico on the Plain of San Augustin.  The VLA is a multi-purpose instrument designed to allow investigations of many astronomical objects, including radio galaxies, quasars, pulsars, supernova remnants, gamma-ray bursts, radio-editing stars, the sun and planets, astrophysical masers, black holes and the hydrogen gas that constitutes a large portion of the Milky Way galaxy as well as external galaxies.

An antenna at the Very Large Array research facility located in central New Mexico on the Plain of San Augustin. The VLA is a multi-purpose instrument designed to allow investigations of many astronomical objects, including radio galaxies, quasars, pulsars, supernova remnants, gamma-ray bursts, radio-editing stars, the sun and planets, astrophysical masers, black holes and the hydrogen gas that constitutes a large portion of the Milky Way galaxy as well as external galaxies.

 Teenagers watch a trailer park fire in Socorro, New Mexico.

Teenagers watch a trailer park fire in Socorro, New Mexico.

 Plains of San Augustin, New Mexico, where the Very Large Array is located.

Plains of San Augustin, New Mexico, where the Very Large Array is located.

 Sunset over White Sands National Monument, near where the world's first nuclear bomb was detonated in 1945.

Sunset over White Sands National Monument, near where the world's first nuclear bomb was detonated in 1945.

 Visitors scour the alleged 1947 UFO crash site outside of Roswell, New Mexico with flashlights at dusk on the 71st anniversary.

Visitors scour the alleged 1947 UFO crash site outside of Roswell, New Mexico with flashlights at dusk on the 71st anniversary.

 On the anniversary of the Roswell UFO crash, visitors survey the remote barn where ranch foreman William Brazel allegedly stored some of the debris before riding into town to inform authorities.

On the anniversary of the Roswell UFO crash, visitors survey the remote barn where ranch foreman William Brazel allegedly stored some of the debris before riding into town to inform authorities.