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More than 30 marijuana plants were found along with paraphernalia.

Visit our other sites: Shop Sears. And we have something to create interest, and that creates an inflow of people, and that creates dollars, and that's what we're all about. And so the town is gearing up, not entirely wholeheartedly, for what it is calling Roswell UFO Encounter '97, a celebration that will include a flying-saucer Soap Box Derby, films, symposiums speakers include Erich von Daniken, author of Chariots of the Gods?

An estimated 50, attended. Outside city limits, the name Roswell speaks to less tangible concerns. Like the black helicopters of the new world order or the racist-police conspiracy to frame O. Simpson, the Incident, as it is known, is either pretty sensational stuff or yet another of the ingenious tales those of us who mistrust mainstream institutions tell ourselves to help make sense of a scary, sometimes depressing world.

In this case, it is a tale that combines deeply American strains of spirituality and paranoia as well as--let us be frank--a large scoop of native wackiness. One could even say, if one were inclined to put yet another spin on the following cliche, that we have met the aliens and they are us.

Roswell's Bizarre UFO Crash

In fact, to judge from the way they are most often depicted, aliens have sprung from the same corner of the national psyche that has a thing for Walter Keane's paintings of grotesquely doe-eyed children. Unless, of course, aliens actually look like that. Everyone agrees that something crashed in the desert outside Roswell in mid-June or early July On July 8, the Roswell Army Air Field issued a press release saying it had recovered the wreckage of a "flying disk," sparking incredulous news stories around the world.


A few hours later, a general at the regional Army Air Force command in Fort Worth, Texas, where the debris had been sent for further analysis, announced that what had really been recovered was a weather balloon. This is the indisputable core of the Roswell Incident. Whether one chooses to believe that the government has been covering up an affair involving extraterrestrials is, of course, a more subjective matter.

But because Roswell represents the only time the U. They are, by the way, quite a diverse and fractious group of folks--studies say they tend to be better educated than the norm--whose numbers include casual believers; so-called UFOlogists, most of whom are pretty earnest in their efforts to document UFO sightings with something approaching objective rigor; contactees, who believe they have had telepathic communication with aliens; abductees, who believe they have been subjected to experimentation by E.

But despite their many differences, for nearly all of them Roswell is central, a way into the darkness. Peculiar theories ripple out from Roswell.

So do further-ranging cultural tides. But those numbers don't quite capture Roswell's current hot-button status. Now everybody does. His efforts achieved a not entirely positive validation on Dec.

Now, Ryan, if you're out in the crowd tonight, here's the answer to your question. No, as far as I know, an alien spacecraft did not crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in A lost opportunity. But on the cultural radar, presidential recognition barely registers next to playing a pivotal role in a popcorn movie. In last year's Independence Day, the seventh highest grossing film of all time, Bill Pullman's President Whitmore also assures an audience the government has nothing up its sleeve concerning UFOs and Roswell, only to be told by his Secretary of Defense, "That's not entirely accurate.

Fortunately, the embattled Earthlings are able to use the recovered Roswell saucer against the invaders and triumph.

Roswell or Bust - Whitcoulls

Talk about vindication. Roswell's pop-cultural apotheosis has been as an inescapable reference on Fox Television's The X-Files, a paranormal Dragnet that details the efforts of two wooden, underacted FBI agents to expose what has metastasized over the show's four seasons into an increasingly baroque conspiracy between the Federal Government and sinister extraterrestrials--a fiction whose particulars have been cherry-picked from among the wilder theories flitting through the UFO community.

Says Price: "The old sci-fi films were just kind of made up from someone's imagination. But The X-Files calls us every once in a while for information. This observation is more or less true as well for two movie blockbusters: Men in Black, an inventive action-comedy loosely based on lore about mysterious dark-suited agents who harass people who've seen UFOs; and the more solemn Contact, based on the Carl Sagan novel and said to be, in the words of its director Bob Zemeckis, the rare alien movie "rooted in true scientific believability.

Roswell Alien Bust

A handsome, weather-beaten man with surprisingly still, pale blue eyes, he has no apparent enmity toward Hollywood, even though he once got what sounds like the brush-off when he tried to persuade his second cousin, the late producer Don Simpson, to make a movie based on Roswell. But when pressed as to his personal feelings on the subject, Roth is willing to admit only that "there's something in the cosmos that suggests there may be a presence elsewhere. Although he's skeptical of official explanations of the Roswell Incident, he doubts extraterrestrials were involved: "I don't know what it was, but our government is so bad at keeping secrets, I have a hard time believing that after all these years, the smoking gun hasn't appeared.

I live by the watchwords 'Never attribute to deviousness that which can be explained by incompetence. Over the past decade, the publishing industry has pumped out dozens of books on Roswell and hundreds on UFOs in general. In fact, according to Books in Print, there are nearly as many titles available about UFOs as there are about the Kennedys , who probably represent the gold standard when it comes to unwarranted public interest in a subject.