Saturday, February 23, 2008

NBC Today show covers Roswell, Area 51

The NBC Today show this morning (Feb. 23 2008) did an extended story (by Matt Lauer) on a couple of sites notorious with UFO hunters: Roswell, and Area 51. The link for today's story is not up yet, but an earlier story "Roswell embraces past and turns a buck: When it comes to playing up its space oddities, this town doesn't hold back" from July 6 2007 is here.

In July 1947 there was a crash on a ranch thirty miles north of Roswell, NM. Pieces of wreckage were found that some people believe could only have come from alien spacecraft, and some witnesses supposedly saw alien corpses. Over many decades, the story has expanded, with complex accounts of witnesses. Some films have been made, such as Artisan’s “Roswell: The UFO Cover-Up" (1994) (book by Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt), that focus particularly on Jesse Marcel. Roswell has become a major tourist center with its International UFO Museum and Research Center, link, which inspired a 1999 film by Minnesotan Timothy Johnson, "Six Days in Roswell".

I took the tour of the Roswell crash site in late April, 1998, on a long weekend-airfare trip to the region after moving to Minneapolis. The family that owns the land had delayed tours for a few months because of private matters, but tours had opened again. One took a tour bus from Roswell.

There have been rumors over the years that some remains were taken to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, link. There is a museum there, which I visited in 1984. There is also a brick biological sciences building on the premises, visible from the street, which some claim contains the remains. There were also rumors that some materials were kept at Carswell in Fort Worth, TX.

As the show indicates, the Pentagon acknowledged the 1947 incident in the mid 1990s, and claimed that the remains were those of crash dummies.

The other area covered in the broadcast was Area 51 in Nevada, about 100 miles NE of Las Vegas. The closest approach is along highway 375, the supposed “Extraterrestrial Highway”. The nearest town is Rachel, NV, and there is an attraction called the Little A’Le’Inn (or Rachel Bar and Grill). I visited the area in late May, 2000. One cannot see any of the Area 51 facility from public roads, and the area is heavily guarded. There is a YouTube video "Area 51 Revisited" here. Here is a reference on Lake Groom.

The area of the Travis Walton abduction in 1975 is East of Flagstaff Arizona and near the Mogollon Rim escarpment, near the town of Heber, AZ. The forest road is normally accessible to the public. I visited it in 1976.

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