By now, we all know the gist of the story. An unidentified flying object crashed in the desert near Corona, New Mexico, in 1947. Military and government agents from nearby Roswell Army Air Field rushed to the site and found alien bodies hidden among the wreckage and debris. Then, they immediately covered it up and left the American public in the dark.
The Army didn’t help matters any, releasing a report claiming to have captured some kind of “flying disc.” It immediately retracted that claim, saying it was instead a kind of weather balloon, fuel for the conspiracy theory fire that would burn for the next 50 years.
The Government Hide the Alien Bodies
Conspiracy theorists went wild in the years following the Roswell Incident. Self-proclaimed UFO-ologists claimed to have pieces of the alien wreck and claimed that at least three sets of extraterrestrial remains were found on the site. But where did the government hide the bodies? Theories pointed to one of two places.
One is the unassuming destination of Dayton, Ohio, home of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Dayton might not seem like the place where the young U.S. Air Force would conduct secret experiments with intelligence or new technologies, but that’s exactly why people think the aliens ended up there.
Wright-Patt is home to the Air Force Research Laboratory and a number of defense intelligence agency headquarters. It’s also the home of the mysterious Hangar 18. That hangar contains technology so secret that no one seems to know exactly what goes on there. Of course, many UFO-ologists believe the alien bodies and the spaceship wreckage were brought there to be reverse-engineered.
In 1979, UFO-ologist James Stringfield wrote a series of works detailing the accounts of those who worked in Hangar 18, who claimed to have seen the remains of pear-shaped headed, slant-eyed gray, four-foot-tall aliens there. Other sources claimed to have seen and heard bizarre aircraft noises emanating from the base, lending credibility to the claim that the aliens are there.
But no one really knows for sure, as the Air Force has long been extraordinarily tight-lipped about the goings-on at Hangar 18. One anecdote recalls Sen. Barry Goldwater, a general in the Air Force Reserve, asking his friend, then Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Curtis LeMay, if he could see inside. LeMay responded, “Not only can’t you get into it but don’t you ever mention it to me again.”
Most, of course, claimed the bodies were taken to a remote test facility called Area 51.
It’s important to remember that until June 2013, the mere existence of Area 51 was highly classified, and to this day, what goes on there is still top secret. This facility is where some of the most advanced aircraft and technology ever developed for the U.S. military were tested and perfected. These include the U-2 high-altitude spy plane and the Lockheed A-12 supersonic jet, a precursor to the SR-71 Blackbird. It’s also where the United States evaluated captured Soviet military equipment and aircraft.
So naturally, the United States government is going to keep the facility and its inner workings a closely-guarded secret. Unfortunately for those trying to keep a secret, it also brings a great deal of unwanted attention from those who think the base also houses little green men, which is exactly the conclusion that conspiracy theorists drew in the years following the Roswell Incident.
Except, Area 51 wasn’t established as a secret test facility until at least the 1950s. It was first built in 1942 as Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field, but that was an unpaved test strip used for aircraft training at what is today known as Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. It was only built up when the CIA needed a testing facility for the U-2 in 1955.
In 1994, the truth finally came out. The Air Force released a report that identified the object as a nuclear test surveillance balloon, a part of the top-secret Project Mogul. The balloon and its sensitive equipment were not just designed to track weather but to analyze sound waves looking for Soviet nuclear tests.
There were never any little green men or “greys” (as the aliens came to be called). In the end, the UFO-ologists ended up being part of the cover-up they’d hoped to uncover, creating 50 years’ worth of disinformation and conspiracy theories.
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