Introduction to the PROJECT 1947 Roswell Page

When PROJECT 1947 was established as an inquiry into the UFO wave of 1947 -- one of the largest UFO waves in history -- it was not envisioned as dealing exclusively with the so-called "Roswell Incident," the alleged crash of an alien spaceship and subsequent involvement of the U.S. military.

There already exist scores if not hundreds of Roswell investigators. PROJECT 1947 is not a Roswell investigation, but rather an examination of UFO reports world-wide before, during, and after the UFO wave of June-July 1947.

The 1947 Roswell story, in fact, lasted barely two days in the newspapers. While it was reported as the "capture" of a "flying disc" or a "flying saucer," these terms were not yet settled as short hand for extraterrestrial spaceship. In 1947 the idea of flying saucers as extraterrestrial spaceships showed up as vanishingly small in a Gallup Poll taken on the subject. It was only years later that this concept took shape.

Reporting on Roswell at the time turned out to be both the high water mark and quick decline of wire service coverage of the 1947 wave. After July 10th, the wires carried mostly foreign reports or humorous stories about "flying discs", as they were more commonly called then. Sporadic reports of sightings continued to appear through early August in local and regional wire service stories.

After more than 30 years had passed, strange stories began to surface from former Roswell Army Air Field personnel and citizens of the city of Roswell, telling of the recovery of strange debris and later a complete spacecraft and recovery of alien bodies.

This information was said to have been suppressed by the U.S.government, representatives of which offered the false explanation that the debris initially identified as coming from a flying disc was really from a downed weather balloon. Evidence for the reality of these claims has been and continues to remain controversial.

Although today many people take it for granted that the alien nature of the Roswell crash, as we know it in popular culture, was part of UFO history from the beginning, this was not the case.

From July 10th, 1947, through the late 1970s, the Roswell story was not an issue. A 1967 Look magazine special issue on UFOs reproduced a picture of Fort Worth AFB weather officer, Irving Newton, posing with recovered debris, explaining that the fragments were the remains of a balloon.

A rise in interest in crashed UFO stories occurred during the mid-1970s, based largely upon several other non-Roswell tales that had circulated through the UFO grapevine. Some suspect the stories may echo accounts from the now-discredited author, Frank Scully, whose best- selling 1950 book, Behind the Flying Saucers, took place partly in New Mexico and seemed to be the first connection of New Mexico to extraterrestrials.

Perhaps as a result of the increased publicity of crash stories, the Roswell incident slowly emerged. The primary breakthrough was the discovery of former major, Jesse Marcel, the Roswell AAF base intelligence officer. He told of the recovery of what to him was odd debris in the desert, suggesting that whatever it was, it was no ordinary balloon. After considerable publicity, others involved in military and civilian activities around Roswell in 1947 offered their own versions of the exotic nature of the incident. Alien bodies were later added to the anecdotes, though never a feature of the original reports. More than half a dozen versions of where the crash occurred, and even more versions of what actually happened, became part of the telling of the Roswell legend. Soon enough, it became the keystone of modern American UFOlogy in the 1990s, with the consensus of many proponents of extraterrestrials that the credibility of UFO research hinged on this one case.

Not all UFOlogists were united in this acceptance of Roswell as the paramount UFO case. Due to the ever-expanding dimension of increasing detail, conflicting testimonies, the addition of highly-questionable embellishments such as alien autopsy film footage, dubious witnesses, the promotion of the Roswell UFO and aliens as popular culture icons, the revelation of sensational but dubious alleged government documents on Roswell flooding on to the market, along with claims that our present technology was due to "reverse engineering" of UFOs, many researchers have decided that the embellishments to the story are unlikely, if not impossible.

Scores if not hundreds of alleged spaceship crashes are now found in the more sensational UFO literature. We now have "the Russian Roswell," "the Chinese Roswell," Hitler's 1939 crashed saucer found in Poland, Mussolini's saucer retrieval, and other equally implausible stories which have blossomed forth in Roswell's wake.

Roswell, like most other UFO reports, depends upon human testimony, which we all know can be riddled with flaws. The case does not contain a higher level of evidence, physical material, officially documented investigations, etc. Roswell is no different from other UFO cases in that respect. In some ways, it is not as good, because authors and investigators have deigned only to give out little snippets of interviews with alleged witnesses, not full transcripts.

When comparing the stories as we now know them to that which was originally reported in 1947, and to the brief mentions of it in the few genuine government documents available, it is difficult to see the justification for declaring Roswell as the crown jewel of American UFOlogy. Many have embraced Roswell as a short cut to the solution of the UFO mystery, accepting the conflicting human testimony as a reason to rewrite the last 50 years of world history. These feelings gave rise to political pressure that evoked a search by officials for any government documents relating to the Roswell Incident.

Because of the intense interest in Roswell (we get several inquiries every week), PROJECT 1947 has decided to create this page to present material we have come across which might throw some light on this case. Material will be offered that can't be found elsewhere, along with links to a variety of sites that deal with the controversy, pro and con. Check here often for updates.

Comments, corrections, and contributions are most welcome at

Disclaimer: Many contributed to this webpage, however, unless otherwise indicated the errors or faults in this site are mine for which I take responsibility. -- Jan Aldrich, September, 2000

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