PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Weather balloons.
That was the official response released 70 years ago — July 9, 1947 — by the US Army about the incident in Roswell, New Mexico that a “flying saucer” crashed onto a ranch.
“On July 8, 1947, public information officer Lt. Walter Haut issued a press release under orders from base commander Col. William Blanchard, which said basically that we have in our possession a flying saucer. The next day another press release was issued, this time from Gen. Roger Ramey, stating it was a weather balloon. That was the start of the best known and well-documented UFO coverup.” — Roswell, New Mexico government website
No definitive decision has ever been made, but the back-to-back conflicting press releases fueled — and continue to fuel — the belief an alien spaceship carrying extra-terrestrial beings fell to Earth in early July 1947 in New Mexico.
The City of Roswell embraced the incident.
The non-profit International UFO Museum & Research Center opened to visitors in 1992. Four years later, the Roswell UFO Festival began, drawing thousands of visitors each year to the UFO Museum and to Roswell.
There have been other documented UFO sightings, including one in McMinnville on May 11, 1950.
That day, a Thursday, Evelyn and Paul Trent were working their farm when she looked up and saw a large, metallic-looking disc-shaped object hovering silently just to the northeast.
Paul ran to get his camera and the pictures he took are among the most famous UFO pictures ever taken.
Now, McMinnville also hosts a UFO festival each May.