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Google Doodle: What happened at Roswell?

In the summer of 1947, something fell into a New Mexican ranch. What was it?

By Contributor / July 8, 2013

The July 8 Google doodle is pictured here.

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Sixty-six years ago, something fell from the sky into a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico. Today, that object has fallen into an interactive Google Doodle. What happened over six decades ago?

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Sometime in early July 1947 (the exact date is unclear), witnesses reported flying saucers cruising over the red-brown desert, the latest reports in a spate of sightings that summer. The scene was set for Mac Brazel, the foreman of a New Mexican ranch near Roswell, to ride out on horseback on one of those July afternoons as he always did, herding his sheep. But this was an unusual ride. Strewn across the property was metallic debris. He told the sheriff’s office, which alerted Major Jesse Marcel from the Roswell Army Air Field, who then alerted the Eighth Air Field. Soon, much of America was aware of a problem on a remote New Mexican ranch.

On the morning of July 8th, Colonel William Blanchard, Commander of the 509th Bomb Group, issued a press release from the local military base that a “crashed disk” had been recovered from the ranch. But just hours later, General Roger Ramey, Commander of the Eighth Air Force at Fort Worth Army Air Field in Texas, some 400 miles from the ranch, issued a correction rescinding the earlier release. The debris was from a surveillance balloon, and the Roswell Military base had made a terrible error, it said.

It looked, no doubt, like a cover-up. And so the world set about picking up threads of what had happened from the fragments that people had seen or heard, sewing it all together into a collective narrative of the Roswell Incident.

Radio journalists in the region said that the FBI annulled their broadcasts of reports from the ground. A local funeral director, Glenn Brown, said he received unusual calls from an air field officer about how to preserve damaged bodies, as well as order for two small and sealable caskets. Residents said that the army had been seen tugging alien bodies – four of them, with bulbous heads and eyes – out of the rubble and alleged that the UFO and its alien cargo had been scooped up and ferried quietly into Area 51, the ultra-secretive military base in Nevada. Some had photos. 


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