The US government’s official version of the Roswell find is simple and unequivocal. A weather balloon crashed in the desert and was recovered by military personal after a local rancher reported a wreckage on his land.
Press officer Walter Haut’s statement on July 8 that a flying disc had been recovered on the Foster ranch north of Roswell was quickly dismissed by General Roger Ramey, who held a press conference the next day to put forward the weather balloon explanation. Parts of the balloon were even paraded in front of an expectant collection of reporters.
Major Jesse Marcel, who was in charge of security for the military’s nuclear test sites across the US and the Pacific, backed up this theory at the time due to the sensitive nature of his position within the armed forces.
Both Marcel and Haut would later claim that the recovered object was an alien spaceship, and that the weather balloon had been substituted for the craft after it was taken to Fort Worth for further testing.
In the early 1990s, when interest in the Roswell incident was at its peak, the air force revealed that it had been carrying out tests in 1947 on a high-altitude balloon as part of Project Mogul, in an attempt to detect Russian nuclear tests.
On 7 July 1947 a rancher in New Mexico reported the discovery of a strange flying saucer that had crash landed in the desert 40 miles north of the small Air Force town of Roswell.
With its strange markings and unusual design, the find soon sparked a furious debate about where the bizarre craft could have come from.
The summer of 1947 had seen dozens of UFO sightings over Roswell.
Locals reported blinking lights, hovering discs and oddly-shaped aircraft in the clear night skies.
So when the Air Force issued a press release saying that a flying disc had been found, the rumour mill went into overdrive.
To those convinced that we are not alone in the universe, Roswell was the defining moment that saw years of UFO sightings and alien encounters backed up with cold, hard evidence.
But the UFO theory was quickly dispelled by military officials, who claimed the object they had recovered was a humble weather balloon, and for more than 30 years the eyes of the world turned away from the New Mexico desert.
Then, in 1980, retired Major Jesse Marcel, who had been involved in the recovery of the craft, told the National Enquirer that the military had covered-up the discovery of an alien spaceship at Roswell.
Since that interview the incident has gained legendary status in the conspiracy community,
For millions across the globe, it is the strongest proof yet that the US government has concealed the existence of aliens for more than 60 years. The American military continues to refute the claims of UFO enthusiasts, and intelligence chiefs have stuck to their “weather balloon” story since 1947.
So have we all been duped by a government cover-up to convince the public that little green men and flying saucers are make believe, or is Roswell just another UFO hoax?