Almanac: 65th anniv. of Roswell UFO
Major Jesse Marcel from the Roswell Army Air Field with debris found 75 miles north west of Roswell, N.M. in a 1947 photo. (USAF/AFP/Getty Images)
(CBS News) And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac . . . July 8th, 1947, 65 years ago today - a day many believe was truly out of this world.
For that was the day Public Information Officer Walter Haut of the Roswell Army Air Field in New Mexico told the local press about an object recently found in the desert:
"On July 8th, 1947, he issued a press release under orders from Col. William Blanchard, saying basically, 'We have in our possession a flying saucer.'".
Julie Shuster is the daughter of Haut, and the director of the International UFO Museum in Roswell.
Just one day later, she says, came an official change of tune: "General Rayme out of Fort Worth issued the story that, 'No, it was a weather balloon.'"
To little avail. Countless people quickly came to believe that a UFO had crashed near Roswell . . . that alien bodies had been recovered . . . and that the government was covering it all up.
In the mid-1990s the Air Force was moved to issue a report with the subtitle "Case Closed" in an effort to shoot down the rumors of UFOs and aliens:
"Bodies observed in the New Mexico desert were probably test dummies that were carried aloft by U.S. Air Force high-altitude balloons for scientific research."
To which claim at least one UFO believer had a simple response: "It takes a dummy to know a dummy."
hollywood producers - being no dummies - have made millions in the years since Roswell with movies about UFOs and alien invasions.
And Roswell has done well for itself by promoting its UFO connection, highlighted each July by a festival that attracts enthusiasts from around the world - and the spot in the desert where it all began continues to attract its pilgrims:
"Many times I've looked up in the sky and said, 'Come and get me!'"
No takers yet. Still and all . . . be careful what you wish for.
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