The Alien Craze in Roswell

That Crazy Alien City – Roswell
~ Roswell, New Mexico
~

My family moved to Roswell, New Mexico in 1973-1974 from New Rochelle, New York. I began school at El Capitan Elementary School then progressed to Sierra Middle School, and on to Goddard High School before moving off in 1986 to Florida to attend college at Florida State University. That whole period of 1973-1986, there was no hype about the rumored UFO crash, alien autopsies, or space visitors. The city was a progressive agriculture town, with a former military Cold War base and ilos towards exits outside of each direction of the city. It was known as an “All American City”. There were legends and tales about the UFO crash but that was about it. One of my dad’s friends, Mr. Bentley spoke about his abduction and proudly showed scars the aliens left on his stomach. He was a crazed inventor that my dad invested with. As a kid I was obsessed with the belief of Faeries, UFO’s, Ancient Egypt, and magic. I had a blue scrapbook I made of UFO sightings, crashes, and strange phenomena. There was very little in that book about Roswell. “The Incident” wasn’t talked about much. I remember even trying alternative science experiments for the science fair at El Capitan was severely frowned upon. So I moved on and advanced with real science.

It is all based on an event on June 14, 1947 where an un-identified object crash landed outside of Roswell. The rancher who owned the land W.W. “Mac” Brazel and his son Vernon called it “a large area of bright wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, and rather tough paper, and sticks.” They brought the wreckage into town to the local sheriff George Wilcox. Insiders claimed it was a UFO with alien bodies. This theory was quickly leaked to the Press and published. Others, including the military, later claimed it was a high altitude weather balloon that fell from the sky. Ex-military representatives however cried otherwise, leading to many conspiracy theories. The Sheriff contacted Colonel “Butch” Blanchard, commander of the Roswell Army Airfield’s 509th Composite Group. The Colonel was stymied and contacted his superior General Roger W. Ramey, commander of the 8th Air Force in Fort Worth, Texas. Intelligence officer Major Jesse Marcel was sent to investigate and collected all of the wreckage, trying to figure out what the materials were, and Marcel made a public statement claiming that it was a Flying Saucer. The local newspaper sensationalized it letting the public know that “The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment Group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today, that the field has come into the possession of a Flying Saucer.” It was after-all at the close of World War II and sensationalist about anything was popular news. The U.S. at this time had sent V2 rockets with payloads of corn seeds and fruit flies into outer space, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists had the “Doomsday Clock” ticking, and UFO’s were the rage in popular culture.

The military said it was a Mogul Experimental weather balloon that crashed. The 1948 government report “The Roswell Incident” was published and utilized by the Variety reporter Frank Scully who wrote “Behind the Flying Saucers” – a book that detailed alien encounters from the Pacific Northwest, Aztec – Farmington – and Roswell, New Mexico, and how aliens were now said to be landing their air craft in people’s backyards. World enthusiasm about the phenomena was global and widespread. Some claimed the Air Force propagated the lies to distract people from monitoring its nuclear weapons development, while others claimed the government was covering up the fact they had space craft and aliens in their possession.

Project Mogul was a secretive project, out of Washington DC being operated at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico launching high-altitude balloons in the area – these balloons would reach high altitudes and were 657 feet long from tip to tail, 102 feet taller than the Washington Monument and twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty – they would enter the upper jet stream toward Russia with a long tail equipped with different types of sensing and listening devices trailing behind it. This is the government’s explanation of the wreckage.

There was the radio broadcast “War of the Worlds” that shook America. Hollywood produced many movies and television shows taking advantage of the enthusiasm, such as Close Encounters of the Third kind, E.T., and Star Wars. Everyone wanted to “believe” we were not alone. Rumors exploded across the countryside, every U.S. military base that had a cloak of secrecy over it (and even some that didn’t) was suspected of housing crashed space ships and aliens. Enter in “Area 51” – a secret air strip in Nevada that rumors were created stating the aliens recovered in Roswell were kept there with their ship. The U.S. Government didn’t help dismiss the rumors, as they just placed large “No Trespassing” and “Use of Deadly Force Authorized” outside the areas.

By the 1990’s there was a notable industry built up around the belief in aliens, UFO’s, and extra-terrestrial existence. With this came books, movies, films, broadcasts, memorabilia, gadgets, toys, posters, and stuffed alien dolls. It was around this time that the International UFO Museum and Research Center decided to make its home in Roswell. I left in 1986 upon graduation, it was soon after they arrived.

Years later the craze infected the city and the old downtown city theater we used to go see Rocky Horror Picture Show was sold and altered into a UFO museum. It was strange to see such a historical landmark as that theater to disappear into space. Then I hear UFO festivals brought millions in tourism to the town, every other fading downtown store front turned into a UFO and alien gift shop, maze, or themed eatery. The city’s lamp posts were topped with alien heads. Every store eventually had their own alien statue sitting out in front of it or had alien heads somewhere on their signs, glass windows, or billboards. The local McDonalds built their play area to be shaped like a giant spaceship. Even the local Walmart added aliens to their frontage. It was nuts. North of the city off Highway 285, the crash site was identified, and a large sign erected to identify its location. New Mexico State University conducted an excavation there to investigate what happened and if any evidence still remained. The crash site now is unmarked with the sign removed, some say “no trespassing” signs exist on site, although my June 2018 visit to the site just had an un-marked skeletal frame that once listed the incident location. Oddly the Roswell UFO Crash Site is just 1/4 mile south of one of the Roswell Missile Silos.

The hype definitely brings tourism to Roswell. Residents love and hate this. For a brief moment of time there was an anti-alien organization camped out in a storefront across the street from the Roswell UFO Museum. They promoted their mission with stickers of alien heads with the “no” symbol crossed over it. They were responsible for much of the vandalism of the crash site sign, as they left the stickers with their damage on location. They no longer exist at least on Main street. If they are still in operation today I have no idea.

The landing of the UFO enthusiasts certainly changed the city. For the good or the bad, no one really knows – but certainly has placed Roswell as a popular tourist destination and hot spot. Of course the hype is not constrained to “Roswell” alone … According to the Public Policy Polling Survey around 12 million people in the United States believe that interstellar lizards in people suits rule our country. Around 66 million Americans believe that aliens landed at Roswell, New Mexico; and around 22 million people believe that the government faked the moon landing.

~ Article by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Gilligan’s World

Gillighans World
* Tel / Fax 00 353 (0)71 30286 / 00 353 (0)71 84100 * Mobile 087 6811690 / 087 6780831 * e-mail gillighans@eircom.net * Registered Office: Baroncourt, Kilmacowen, Ballysadare, County Sligo * Sligo, Ireland *

Gilligan’s World is a hidden little Faerie theme park, farm, and botanical gardens in the heart of Sligo County in the rolling countryside at the base of the famed Tuatha de Danaan battle mound, the “Knocknashee” the Legendary “Hill of the Faeries”, one of Irelands 7 sacred hills. Mainly centered around children, the park can be a bit of fun for adults and kids alike, especially for those in the faerie persuasion. This little magical kingdom was created by the Baronness of Leyny, the Lady Melody Urquhart (Ph.D) as a faerie habitat to capture the true spirit of Ireland and its mythological/archaeological past. In 1993, she left fame and fortune behind in England as a choreographer / producer / director/ and owner of a finishing school in order to build this sanctuary. Attracted to the Knocknashee, the Mullinabreena, the Hill of the Fairy Mansion or Palace. Complete with miniature model villages, enchanted glades, streams, botanical gardens, a petting zoo, snack shop, gift shop, library, restrooms, car park, picnic areas, and an inn. Streams, forests, wildlife ponds, an aquatic cave, play facilities, with games, quizzes, and puzzles to achieve. The staff is well educated about faerie lore and history. Great place for the kids, schools, coach tours, birthday parties, family groups, and overseas tourists. It has a stone tunnel entrance, with dolmen, an amphitheater, lush green lawns, and inspiration for the wild, wacky, kitch, artistic, imaginative, and fantasy. Its open 7 days a week, Easter through September from 12 to 6 pm on mondays thru fridays, 2 pm to 7 pm on saturdays and sundays. While very kitchy and centered around children, as an adult with a faerie fascination, I enjoyed the park very much – and hope to go back to actually explore the actual Knocknashee. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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The National Leprechaun Museum in Dublin

National Leprechaun Museum, Dublin, Ireland

National Leprechaun Museum, Dublin, Ireland

National Leprechaun Museum – Dublin
Twilfit House, Jervis Street, Dublin 1, Ireland *leprechaunmuseum.ie
My very first time in Ireland and only a few hours in Dublin, I get off the bus, wander off O’Connell and lo’ and behold there is the National Leprechaun Museum. I was of course in awe since I’m a faerie fanatic and consumed with folklore about the little people. I’m aware that this museum has caused quite a stir in Ireland, especially since a good portion of the Irish population doesn’t like being tied with the imagery of this mythological creature. Legend be legend, and history be such of that – Leprechauns have chosen to root themselves in Ireland – and in my opinion, the Irish need to welcome the stingy little bugger with open arms – because as trouble-making as this fae can be, they have a fun history and iconography. Of course this is from the mouth of an American, and it was the Irish immigrants to America that really stirred this creature to life in the folk tales brought over to the American shore. Then you have lots of comical approaches to embrace the bugger in a humorous light especially with being branded on the General Mills cereal “Lucky Charms”. The Museum is not that old, as it was established just this year on March 10, 2010. The National Leprechaun Museum is dedicated to the history and lore about “Leprechauns”. It is located in a large building between Jervis Street and Middle Abbey Street in Dublin, Ireland. It is most likely the very first leprechaun museum in the world and was referred to by the Irish Times as “The Louvre of Leprechauns”. Directed by Tom O’Rahilly, the concept was started in 2003, as a “story telling” oral-tradition tourist attraction designed for the “leprechaun experience” rather than “a commercial venture”. The only real ‘museum’ part of the ‘museum’ is in the foyer, where you are given a brief synopsis of the history of leprechauns, its iconography, definition, and references in popular culture. The rest of the museum is an interactive guided tour involving several different mythological room with voiceovers exploring the myths and legends in the eyes of a leprechaun. After the introduction, you enter in through a secret door and go through a tunnel full of optical illusions shrinking you to the size of a leprechaun, then go through a wooden replica of the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, Northern Ireland and into a room where items such as furniture become unusually large to give you the effect you’ve shrunk in size. Onward into a room sheltered with umbrellas from falling rain onward through into a room with a rainbow that leads into a room with a crock of gold and a tree stump. You are enlightened and warned with the tale of one’s man attempt to catch a leprechaun. More rooms exist that talk about the Children of Lir, Fairy Forts, and Newgrange; also one with a well and gigantic tree trunks. Like any museum of its kind, it empties out into a giftshop. Now unfortunately I was called out of the museum in a rush to attend to and was only able to catch the introduction and foyer – which was well done. I’ll finish this review when I go back for the interactive part later this month.

6/23/10: I returned to finish my tour of the Museum. The interactive remaining part of the museum, as you walk through the hidden door from the only part of the place that is a Museum – the rest is meant to be an amusement area centered for kids. However, its severely lacking in entertainment value. You walk down a lighted tunnel to shrink to the size of a Leprechaun, hang out in what is meant to be a living room where you are diminished in size, go through the Giant’s causeway, through an umbrella field which I really didn’t get, on to the Pot of Gold chamber, the wishing well, rainbow chambers, and trails. There is interesting folklore – that was the value to the visit for me and anyone who adores Faerie history and lore – but for the uninterested tourist, the museum would be a waste of your Euros. The staff is however very knowledgable about the lore and Faerie fanatics would benefit from paying the 10 Euro fee just to pick the brains of the staff. The interactive map of the Otherworldly history of Ireland is fabulous and the only real attractive piece I found in the museum.

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