Close Encounter of the New Mexican Kind

Alien City, The UFO Capital of the World, Home of the Annual UFO Festival. This is NOT the kind of place that The GypsyNesters can just pass by. Oh no, we had to stop and investigate.

The first stop of any trip to Roswell has got to be The International UFO Museum and Research Center on Main Street in the middle of town. Since opening in 1992 the museum has outgrown two locations and has plans to expand yet again.

Before the center came to town, little was known about “The Incident.” As their website proudly proclaims… CONTINUE READING >>

Alien
City, The UFO Capital of the World, Home of the Annual UFO
Festival. This is NOT the kind of place that The GypsyNesters
can just pass by. Oh no, we had to stop and investigate.

The
first stop of any trip to Roswell has got to be The International
UFO Museum and Research Center on Main Street in the middle
of town. Since opening in 1992 the museum has outgrown
two locations
prior to occupying the old Plains Theater, and has plans to expand
yet again.

Before
the center came to town, little was known about “The
Incident.” As their website proudly proclaims, there
were no alien eyes on the lamp posts, no space based logos
for the local car dealer and no city of Roswell logo with
a spaceship before
they opened up. Roswell was just an unknown dot on the map.

The
International UFO Museum and Research Center proudly points
out their contributions to civic growth by noting that six
UFO related businesses have opened downtown, six hotels
have been completed, and Roswell now has a Home Depot, Super
Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, Sam’s Club, PetCo, Famous Footwear,
a Chili’s and
an Applebee’s just in the past eight years.

No doubt
a great deal of this business comes from the curious and the
down right skeptical, count us among them, but the museum maintains
its position on the serious side for the UFO

interested visitors.

We
won’t go into a detailed description or analysis of “The
Incident,” but suffice it to say that the museum has
every piece of information that any human (or alien for
that matter) could ever dream of.

The centerpieces of the collection are the 1947 newspapers
and radio broadcasts announcing the crash of a “flying
disc” and the retraction
of the story the next day, word for word from a Roswell Army Air
Field press release. Somehow, overnight, the official story changed
from “personnel from the field’s 509th Bomb Group had recovered
a crashed flying disc from a ranch near Roswell,” to “Commanding

General of the Eighth Air Force stated that, in fact, a radar-tracking
balloon had been recovered by the RAAF personnel, not a flying
disc.” No wonder there are conspiracy theories.

Also
prominent are eye witness accounts and expert testimonies
and, perhaps most compelling, signed affidavits from some
of the military personnel who were actually involved in
the crash clean up. It was getting a bit creepy in Roswell.

By
the time we had finished studying the displays and information,
we had some serious doubts as to the validity of the official
government explanation. We’re not saying we believe it
was a UFO crash, but we’re not buying the weather balloon story
either.

Beyond
the exhibits about The Incident, the museum takes a turn
toward the less credible. A lot of the standard, grainy,
blurry and cheesy UFO photos are featured along
with artwork and some very questionable “science.”
There
was some fairly reasonable evidence that the Nazi war machine
had developed a flying saucer referred to as a Foo Fighter.
The museum has a nifty little display that depicts what
one may have looked like. Perhaps
our Air Force was messing with a captured one after the war. Personally,
we like the Foo Fighter explanation more than little green men
tale, oh

and yes, that is where the band got their name.

Once
we had absorbed the museum, it was time to check out the
research center. Yeah buddy, this is where they keep the
good stuff! Nothing
is too farfetched or bogus to make it into this library. Books
expounding outlandish theories, incredibly questionable scientific
journals and a

video collection any UFOlogist (their word, not
ours) would die for. Every bad Sci-Fi movie that even mentions
an alien is here, many that reside on every worst movies of all
time list.

For the
truly serious researchers, a complete set of every “Lost
in Space” episode is included. The scientific knowledge
hidden away in those gems is priceless.

To
continue our immersion into all things alien, it was time
to step up the goofy a notch and walk across the street
to The UFO Roswell Space Center to take a little trip through
their SpaceWalk. Billed as a “walk-through blacklight
art experience,” this was not to be missed. Seriously,
here’s the description direct from their
brochure:

“Step
into the temporal vortex field of the Paisley-Horvak TVG9000.
See into Roswell’s past, when the future was beginning; then
watch the

future unfold, becoming a spectacular panorama of
outerspace viewed from the deck of an alien starship.”

There has
never been a better description of a series of glowing blacklight
charged diaramas — one that even includes scenes from I Love
Lucy — in the history of the universe. Oh, and one other note
from the brochure, “Free Alien Money With Any Purchase.”
Stop, please, I can’t take anymore!

There was
absolutely no way we were ever going to top that on the goofy-cheesy
scale, so we decided to take in some of the actual historical
sites of Roswell. Even before the aliens got all out of control
and crashed, real space age history was being made here.

In
1930, Robert Goddard, the inventor of the liquid fueled
rocket, came to Roswell to pursue his experiments in rocketry.
The wide open spaces were perfect for launches without endangering
the public. Often called “The Father of Modern Rocketry,”
Goddard worked in secrecy here throughout the thirties,
building ever larger and more sophisticated rockets until
World War II diverted most of his attention to developing
rocket engines to assist aircraft in takeoffs.

The Roswell Museum and Art Center, just
a tad more serious as museums in Roswell go, features an entire
gallery dedicated to Goddard’s work. The exhibit includes a re-creation
of his workshop and many of his actual rockets, the largest of
which stands outside the

museum in a launch tower ready for lift
off.

While
Goddard was working for the war effort, German prisoners
of war were being held at a camp in nearby Orchard Park.
The prisoners often were sent to work in Roswell and during
one of those trips a group of POWs inlaid an iron cross
with stones while
paving the bank of the North Spring River. Unhappy
locals covered the cross with concrete.

In the 1980s the cross was uncovered and the small park on the
opposite shore

became known as Iron Cross Park. Later, in 1996,
the park was renamed POW/MIA Park and displays a chunk of The
Berlin Wall, donated to the city by the German Air Force.

Perhaps
the confluence of the whole German military, World War II, Foo
Fighters, Spacecraft, Rockets, Aliens and Roswell comes together
in this one place. X, or the iron cross, marks the spot. Who
knows?

It’s hard
to decipher a lot of the fact from fiction in Roswell. One thing
we do know, we left town no more sure about the existence
of visitors from outer space than when we came here.

But no less
either.

David &
Veronica, GypsyNester.com


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2 thoughts on “Close Encounter of the New Mexican Kind”

  1. Love this post!!! After reading this, I could use a good sci-fi shoot-em up space movie! Thanks for sharing your encounters — Roswell is one of my all time top places to see … just gotta find a nerdy family member to go along.

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