In the first few days of July 1947, the spaceships of curious extraterrestrials flew over the New Mexico site of a 1945 atomic bomb test and over nearby military bases where secret rocket research was being conducted. During that time, one of the spaceships malfunctioned. Swooping low over the town of Roswell, it struck the earth glancingly on land owned by a local rancher, leaving behind gouged earth and material torn from the ship's hull by the impact, including fragments imprinted with alien symbols or hieroglyphics. The damaged craft rose into the air and traveled onward for a number of miles before crashing into the base of a cliff in a remote area, killing the crew.
Various portions of this sequence of events were observed on Army Air Force radars and by eyewitnesses whose reports reached authorities at the Roswell Army Air Field. Thus alerted, the military acted swiftly: a cordon of troops was placed around the impact sites; the wreckage and the small, humanoid alien bodies were removed; and all traces of the crash were expunged. The statements of eyewitnesses were also reported by the local radio station and newspapers, and on 8 July the public relations officer at Roswell Army Air Field issued a press release announcing the recovery of a ``flying disk'' that had been sent on to higher headquarters for examination. This official announcement attracted worldwide attention, but within hours it was repudiated at a press conference held by the general in command of the regional Army Air Force, who asserted that the alleged wreckage of a flying disk was merely the remains of a weather balloon.
This cover story, invented to cloak the recovery of an alien spaceship, was accepted by the media and by the public at large. Government officials took prompt action to repress further reportage by threatening eyewitnesses and local reporters with severe reprisals if they continued to reveal information about the flying disk. This was the beginning of a massive cover-up that for three decades succeeded in keeping the events at Roswell from being scrutinized by serious researchers.
In 1979 a former military intelligence officer at the Roswell Army Air Field, in defiance of security regulations, told UFO investigators that the wreckage collected near Roswell in 1947 was not that of a weather balloon and that the fragments he had seen and handled exhibited unusual properties, in terms of hardness and strength, that were not possessed by terrestrial materials. In the years that followed this revelation, researchers interviewed dozens of individuals who had firsthand or secondhand knowledge about the Roswell Incident. Their testimony, which appeared in a number of books and articles during the period 1980--1994, confirmed the crash of an alien spaceship and the recovery of alien bodies.
In 1994, exasperated by official silence about the true nature of the Roswell Incident, some New Mexico citizens petitioned their congressman to force the Defense Department to disgorge secret documents proving that officials were withholding evidence of the most important event in human history --- extraterrestrial contact --- because of a misguided government policy. That policy was due partly to the unwarranted fear that catastrophic panic and disorder on a global scale would follow the disclosure of such evidence, and partly to the desire of the military to keep secret the advanced scientific knowledge it had gleaned from the spaceship wreckage and the alien bodies.
The congressman succeeded in initiating an investigation by the General Accounting Office. Subsequently, that agency asked the Air Force to cull its files on the Roswell Incident. The result of those efforts was a report that attributed the wreckage found near Roswell not to a weather balloon but rather to the remains of balloon-borne radar reflectors, launched as part of a top secret project. Code-named Mogul, the project aimed at developing a sonic technique for covertly monitoring the test of a Soviet atomic bomb. This most recent government pronouncement on the Roswell Incident was merely a restatement of the original cover story in a slightly modified form. Hence, the conspiracy of silence on the part of government officials continues to prevent the public from obtaining evidence of profound import --- evidence that we, as intelligent life-forms, are not alone in the universe. [pp. 3--4]