Saturday, June 23, 2007
I pointed the hood of my car west, surprise surprise, and headed for New Mexico, passing oil fields and miles of hot desert on my way to Roswell.
In 1947, a rancher named Mac Brazel noticed some unusual material on his ranch 75 miles outside of Roswell. A few days later it occured to him to bring his findings into town, back then an entire day's journey. The press got ahold of the story just as the military sealed off the alleged crash site, but the mania was spreading. People from all over the U.S. and soon the world started reporting UFO sightings. To this day, the U.S. government maintains it was a weather balloon that crashed during a mission over the desert.
Nowadays, the town, like any other, seeks to cash in on its history. Aliens adorn every available surface, from alien-like eyes on the lampposts, to little green alien footprints on the sidewalk, to massive big blowup aliens hanging from the many souvenir shops.