Alien Encounters of the Net Kind
By Terry Schwadron
I'll admit it. I haven't decided for sure whether aliens
crashed 50 years ago in the desert outside Roswell, New
Mexico. Then again, I don't worry about it too much.
Why interplanetary travelers would pick such a spot is beyond
me, but, for lots of folks,
the question seems consuming. Next month, thousands of
people are expected to descend
on Roswell for a celebration and quasi-scientific debate
over exactly what did happen half
a century ago.
Whatever you want to believe, be sure of this: You can find
supporting evidence on the Web.
There are several sites questioning whether a large dent in
the ground was caused by an out-of-control weather balloon or
a misguided spacecraft, whether a quartet of
extraterrestrials were inside and later autopsied and
whether the government is covering it
The Web is the perfect forum for the believe-it-or-not
quality of the Roswell debate. For
the casual visitor, facts may matter less than presentation;
the story may have to be
sort-of-true-enough to support the sales of UFO-related
paraphernalia and excitement.
I am pretty certain that these sites are assembled by
earthbound terrestrials who want to control your personal
computer. Here's a rundown of some of what you might find:
Perhaps you can avoid my mistake. I started at the Popular
Science site , thinking that the
magazine-sponsored site would probably have a
solid and fun presentation. I was right, with one exception.
The magazine's Web Roswell special report has been turned
into a game, an intelligent,
informative scavenger hunt, that actually demands that we
know some of the significant
or silly facts about the event. The presentation was great,
but only a real fan of the debate
could possibly know the answers. A survey about whether I
would agree to join aliens on a
romp through interplanetary space was easier to handle.
Instead, I pressed my Web controls and moved, admittedly at
something less than warp
speed, to a site calling itself the Roswell Incident site. It looked
quite official, and in most serious tones, the site walks
visitors through all of the evidence,
testimony, myths and counterclaims of alien invasions.
Not to spoil things for you, but these are folks who don't
Within the site is a copy of the definitive 1995 Government
Accounting Office Report on
Roswell, ordered by Rep.
Steven H. Shiff, R-New Mexico,
who wanted to find if the government had covered up the
The report itself is pretty plain by Web standards, all text
and no fun. But the hard-core
fan of the debate will probably appreciate its many juicy
At an Air Force links site, one
can do a site search for
Roswell information and retrieve some original Roswell Army
Air Field documents about
the New Mexico brouhaha. By now, I was having trouble
believing in any government
By contrast, I loved visiting a site at http://www.sierra-
vista.com/roswell, which came
complete with java applets carrying the 50-year-old news
from the Roswell Daily Record
across the bottom of the screen as if it were breaking news,
along with some well-executed
graphics and music.
This site provided links to various documents and
commentary, and was the first of several
sites I visited to offer the chance to buy a memento of the
A site called Eyes on the Sky
skipped content about interplanetary life altogether, and
went right to the T-shirt sales. I
must admit, they were good, with aliens and characters from
the various Roswell stories in
almost every combination. New Mexico UFO Study Group followed suit
with retailing as the main event. They offer certified, authentic soil from the
An area calling itself the Roswell Autopsy Film site has lots of
anonymous analysis of photographs
and films taken in and around Roswell to argue that
For the basic UFO aficionado, there is a plethora of
space-wandering sites. I'd start at UFO Resources, which
has enough link
information to hold reader attention until ET gets home.
For the record, the government's 1995 conclusion was that
the investigating Air Force
officer is "100 percent sure that the Roswell sightings are
a hoax." Of course, the next
thing the government will be telling us is that the Internet
may be harmful to our health.
(c) 1997, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Los Angeles Times
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